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Moral panics, organised crime and garotting

Key Reading

  • Clive Emsley, Crime and Society in England, (use index)

Seminar Reading

  • John E Archer, 'Poaching gangs and violence: the urban-rural divide in nineteenth-century Lancashire', British Journal of Criminology, 39 (1999)
  • Jennifer Davis, 'The London garrotting panic of 1862', in V Gattrell, B Lenman and G Parker, Crime and the Law
  • David Lemmings and Claire Walker, Moral Panics, the Media and the Law in Early Modern England(esp article by McCreery)
  • Richard Ward, 'Print culture, moral panic and the administration of the law: the London crime wave of 1744', Crime, History and Society, 16 (2012)
  • B J Davey, Lawless and Immoral: Policing a County Town
  • Drew Gray, Londons Shadows: The Dark Side of the Victorian City (esp chapter 7)
  • Carl Griffin, 'The mystery of the fires: Captain Swing as Incendiarist', Southern History, 32 (2010)
  • Carl Griffin, 'The violent Captain Swing', Past and Present, 209 (2010)
  • Eric Hobsbawm, 'The Machine breakers', Past and Present, 1 (1952)
  • Eric Hobsbawm and George Rude, Captain Swing
  • David Jones, Crime, Protest, Community and Police
  • Katrina Navickas, 'Luddism, Incendiarism and the defence of rural "task-scapes" in 1812', Northern History, 48 (2011)
  • Harvey Osborne and Michael WInstanley, 'Rural and urban poaching in Victorian England', Rural History, 17 (2006)
  • R A E Wells, 'Sheep-rustling in Yorkshire in the age of the industrial and agricultural revolutions', Northern History, 20 (1984)


  • What is a 'moral panic'?
  • Why did 'garrotting' become such as cause for concern in the 1860s?
  • Compare with earlier moral panics? Are the responses of the authorities comparable?
  • Is organised crime an urban phenomenon?
  • When does organised crime (such as arson and machine breaking) become political crime?


  • H W Holland, 'The science of garrotting and housebreaking', Cornhill Magazine, vii (1863), pp. 79-92.
  • Garrotting sources on Deviance, Disorder and the Self website (Birkbeck College)