Chapter 1: Laws of Metamorphosis: From Nomad to Offender Next Chapter

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Laws of Metamorphosis: From Nomad to Offender
Laws of metamorphosis: From nomad to offender

In the late 19th century, the emerging disciplines of criminology, phrenology and anthropometry boasted that the ‘illegible’ face of the criminal could now be recognised and interpreted by scientists and criminologists. A few decades earlier, Henry Mayhew, the celebrated author of London Labour and the London Poor: the Condition and Earnings of Those that Will Work, Cannot Work, and Will Not Work complemented his documentation of the distribution of crime with narratives provided by professional criminals.1 ‘The use of such “ethnographic” material was a major contribution to the development of criminology as a social science.’2 Mayhew called himself a ‘traveller in the undiscovered country of the poor’. In this writing, he recast ...

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