Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Crime and Migration in an Age of Transformation

The nineteenth century truly was an age of transformation. Throughout Europe processes of industrialization and urbanization, nationalization and centralization, changed the structures of society. It was an age in which the number of people living in urban communities grew substantially.

2020 - 2024
Jeannette Kamp

The majority of this urban growth was achieved by in-migration of people from the countryside who moved to the big city (often indirectly) in search of work. At the time, the rapid urbanization was a cause of concern for the (governing) elites. In their view, the influx of primarily poor newcomers led to an increase of crime and all sort of immoral behaviour like drunkenness and prostitution. Late nineteenth- and twentieth-century sociologists reinforced the idea that there was a link between urbanization, migration and crime.Since then, the presumed link between urbanization, migration and crime remained a matter of scholarly (and public) debate. This project therefore investigates the experiences of migrants within the criminal justice system in Amsterdam 1850-1905.

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