Introduction

Robyn Lincoln, Shirleene Robinson

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Abstract

[Extract]
Every nation deems certain acts to be criminal and punishes offenders according to the cultural values of the society. The study of crime and punishment reveals much about social order, reactions to deviance and norms. The topics of crime and punishment have particular importance for Australia. It is a society whose European origins derive from the penal policies of late eighteenth century Great Britain. Until 1868, when convict transportation to Western Australian stopped, drawing the convict era to a close, Australian officials were preoccupied with criminality, punishment and the maintenance of absolute law and order. As a distinctive sense of Australian identity developed in the late nineteenth century, law-breaking figures, such as the bushranger Edward “Ned” Kelly, who was hanged at the age of 25, became national icons. In contemporary Australia, the fascination with criminal activity shows no signs of abating. Television programmes such as Underbelly, which focus on notorious criminal figures, attain top ratings, popular crime novels sell extremely well and a number of Australian films continue to explore elements of Australia’s criminal past.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime over time
Subtitle of host publicationTemporal perspectives on crime and punishment in Australia
EditorsR. Lincoln, S. Robinson
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherCambridge Scholars Pub
Pagesix-xv
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781443824170
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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