In a society of strangers, there develops what can be called crimes of mobility -- forms of criminality rare in traditional societies: bigamy, the confidence game, and blackmail, for example. What they have in common is a kind of fraudulent role-playing, which the new society makes possible. This book explores the social and legal consequences of social and geographical mobility in the United States and Great Britain from the beginning of the 19th century on. Personal identity became more fluid. Lines between classes blurred. Impostors abound.
Lawrence M. Friedman is the Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford University. He is a leading historian of American law, and a leading scholar associated with the law and society movement. He is the author or editor of more than 30 books on these subjects.
Chapter 1: Up and Down the Ladder
Chapter 2: Evil Twin
Chapter 3: Crimes of Mobility
Chapter 4: White Lies
Chapter 5: The Dawn of Mystery
Chapter 6: A World of Doubt and Opportunity
Chapter 7: The Worm in the Bud
Chapter 8: Coming Together and Going Apart
Chapter 9: Brave New World
A wonderful and often-surprising study of how conceptions of personal identity were transformed by the simple fact that it became much easier to move from one place to another. Lawrence Friedman marshals a vast range of evidence—court cases, novels, films, and much more—to reveal the connections between technological change and conventional ideas about the self, from the nineteenth century up through the present. Crimes of Mobility is the rare book that makes the reader see familiar things in a new way.
Lawrence Friedman has done it again! Readers are treated to a history of the role of the industrial revolution in shaping the definition of crime in a rapidly changing world. The reader will be delighted by the engaging historical cases that Friedman highlights during this period of rapid industrialization. The readers’ attention is captured by Friedman’s discussion of changing definitions of crime – we see the emergence of crimes like ‘bigamy’, ‘blackmail”, ‘ con men’, etc. In addition, we learn how industrialization led to new forms of literature: the emergence of mysteries and detective stories make their appearance during this period, and they have become a staple of American culture. This book promises the reader an engaging exploration of crimes of mobility. You will not want to put the book down.
On a sweeping canvas that covers two centuries of legal and literary history, eminent historian Lawrence Friedman shares his observations about the power of mobility—both geographic and social—to transform personal identity. During the 19th century, the United States morphed from a collection of face-to-face local communities into an anonymous, urbanized nation in which men and, to a lesser extent, women could alter their socioeconomic status, their religion, and even their perceived race, along with their place of residence. But the potential to craft new identities also raised the disconcerting prospect that people were not who they seemed and that, beneath the veneer presented to the outside world, deviance and criminality might lurk. America and Great Britain gradually shed repressive Victorian norms in favor of “expressive individualism,” but prisons and other institutions developed for law-breakers and the poor continued to exert control. Friedman concludes with the insight that 21st-century globalization and technology have created a new type of village that sacrifices privacy for connectedness. His latest book makes an entertaining and thought-provoking read.
This book offers a captivating analysis of the complex relationship between identity and mobility across time periods and societies. Friedman’s unrivaled ability to dig out rich examples from ordinary life and scrutinize them through the sociolegal scholar’s lens makes this a must-read book to anyone interested in law, culture, and society in the modern era.