Statistics, which are the bread and butter of modern social and economic history, are missing or, if they do survive, can rarely be trusted. The large gaps in our records highlight the social historian's obligation to reconstruct the past with imagination, even with artistic creativity, but constrained from flights of pure fantasy by the authenticating conventions of scholarship.
Imagination is needed, not merely to fill the gaps in our sources, but also to provide the framework, the master picture into which the jigsaw fragments of evidence can be fitted. Social history is not, or should not be, a blindly accumulated pile of facts whatever they may be. It should not even be a quilt of testimony, however cunningly devised, each piece cut from abstruse sources. Social history has to be thought out, as well as artfully presented, as a story, a moral tale, a belle-lettre or an essay in intellectual adventure.
It has to be thought out, because we interpret the past to the present. We cannot confine ourselves to the intentions and perceptions of historical actors. We know what they did not; we know what happened next. We should not throw that advantage away lightly. We have to identify and to analyse long-term forces, the structure which moulded individual actions forces of which many actors were often only dimly aware: for example the growth of Christianity, or the increased costs of defending a large empire against barbarian attacks.
And above all, the historian has to choose a topic that interests him and his readers. That is one reason why all history is contemporary history and repeatedly needs to be rewritten. We look into the past and inevitably write something about ourselves. I began with a triviality — against my better judgement. Trivialities are what social history used to be about: clothes, hunting, sex, weddings, houses, eating, sleeping. For most people, in all periods, major preoccupations; but for serious historians, marginal matters compared with politics, laws, wars and foreign relation.
Social history provided mere light relief, the tail-piece for proper history, just enough to convince the reader that the subject matter was human after all. Fashions have now changed. And, thanks to the work of Norbert Elias, we can see changing habits of eating and lovemaking, not only as part of the cultural transformation of western civilisation, but also as a reflection of changes in the extent of state power.
But that is sociological history, and another story. Social history is more difficult to define than political or economic or military history. Whereas those terms apply to the history of distinct kinds of activity, the term social covers virtually everything. In fact there have been three very different views about the nature of social history. The oldest view of social history was that it was the history of manners, of leisure, of a whole range of social activities which were conducted outside political, economic, military and any other institutions which were the concern of specific kinds of history.
One problem with this rather residual view of social history was that its domain shrank as historians of women, the family, leisure, education, etc. There was also the danger that these histories could become trivialised by the exclusion of politics, economics or ideas from the activities they were investigating. In a reaction against this some historians have gone to the other extreme and argued that social history should become the history of society: societal history. The idea is that political, economic, military and other specific types of history each study only one aspect of a society.
It is necessary to bring these various types of history together into a single framework if that whole society is to be understood. This is the task of societal history. There are many difficulties with this view of social history. First, the whole approach is based upon the assumption that there is a society to study.
But when we use the term society we do not normally mean a distinct social structure, but rather the inhabitants of a certain territory or the subjects of a particular political authority. It remains to be established whether there is a distinct social structure which shapes the way these people live their lives. There is a danger that this assumption of a single society will be imposed upon the evidence.
Thus the assumption that English society was becoming industrial during the nineteenth century, along with various ideas about what a pre-industrial and an industrial society are like, can distract from the proper task of the historian. Instead of describing and analysing specific events, the historian is lured into categorising various elements of 'society' according to where they are located on the path from pre-industrial to industrial.
This 'evidence' is then cited in support of the original assumption. The argument is unhistorical, circular and empty of real meaning. A much more promising way of bringing the different branches of history together into a single framework is to distinguish between different dimensions such as the political, the economic and the ideological.
Then one tries to relate these different levels together. Marxist history is the best example of this kind of enterprise. But equally the tradition associated with Max Weber can lead in the same direction although with important differences. In both cases, however, the central concern is no longer with 'society' but rather with other concepts such as 'mode of production' or 'types of legitimate domination'.
It makes little sense to call these approaches examples of social or societal history. There may still be the assumption that the ultimate purpose is to understand 'society as a whole' or a 'social formation', but this assumption is not an essential element in these types of history. What is essential is how the different dimensions are defined and then related to the evidence and to one another.
A third view of social history is that it is concerned with experience rather than action. One might argue that people who are wage-earners, parents, citizens, consumers and much else besides must possess some sense of identity which underlies all these particular roles and must experience the world in ways which extend beyond these roles.
The job of the social historian is to provide a general understanding not at the level of 'society as a whole' but at the level of the individual or the members of particular social groups. But there are problems with this. All the historian can do is study the records of people's actions in the past which still exist. The temptation to go 'behind' those actions to the 'real' people can lead to unverifiable speculation. It can lead away from the concern with specific events which is the essence of history. Finally it can lead away from the social into the psychological.
The recent upsurge of interest in the history of 'everyday life' has sometimes demonstrated these weaknesses when it has sought to go beyond the rather antiquarian pursuit of bits and pieces of 'ordinary life'. These three views of social history — as a residual history of assorted social activities, as societal history, and as the history of social experience — seem to lead nowhere. Confronted with much of what calls itself social history one might feel inclined to settle for this negative conclusion.
But I think that at least for modern history there is a further point to be made. Modern history has witnessed a dramatic increase in the scale of human activity with the growth in size and importance of markets, firms, states and other institutions. People relate to one another in these institutions with little in the way of a common sense of identity or personal knowledge of one another.
The studies of these institutions tend, therefore, to omit a consideration of the ways individuals understand their actions within the institutions. But in the end those understandings determine how the institutions perform. By 'understanding' I do not mean some experience 'behind' what people do, but rather the thinking that directly and immediately informs their actions. It is this which should always be related to the performance of the institution as a whole.
For example, the historical study of the 'adaptation' of rural immigrants to urban-industrial life cannot work either at the level of impersonal analysis how far people adjust to certain 'imperatives' of modernisation or at the level of individual experience what it is like to be a rural immigrant. Rather one should look at distinct actions such as job-changing, absenteeism, patterns of settlement and housing use. Then one should ask what sort of thinking it is which gives a sense to these patterns of action as well as what this means for the institution concerned.
This is hardly the province of a special sort of history. Rather it involves making every kind of history explicitly confront the social nature of action and institutions. Social history is not a particular kind of history; it is a dimension which should be present in every kind of history. While on a visit to a mid-western American university not long ago I was invited to 'tell us about the new social history'. Being somewhat at a loss, especially among faculty members whose own great-grandfathers had been among the creators of community life in pioneering times, I fell back on a discussion of the variety of overlapping early modern English communities: village, hamlet, parish and manor; county and 'country'; metropolis and market town; Anglican and Nonconformist congregations; universities and secular academic fraternities; guilds of craftsmen and ships' companies, and so on: the associations were many and varied.
All of this seemed closer to the real world than consideration of 'mentalites' and even of 'total' societies and of the problems of quantification.
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- The English Police | A Political and Social History | Taylor & Francis Group.
However as a concession to the last of these I did contribute to the balance of payments by persuading my hosts to acquire not one but two copies of the new Population History of England. For those who today call themselves social historians but whose early training was in more specifically economic history, the present search for quantifiable data is a natural progression and the urge to encompass the whole of society no more than axiomatic.
The advent of computers has undoubtedly played a part, not least in sending social historians in search of new source material, or to rework old sources, both of which can be made to yield hitherto undreamed-of results. Computers cannot, of course, write history, though from the evidence of some recent historical literature it would seem that they have a good try.
Nothing can replace prolonged consideration of the records themselves and the problems of correctly identifying people in the past are enormous. Fortunately one of the effects of finding new uses for the parochial registration of baptisms, weddings and funerals has been the realisation that every living person has a unique identity and life-span.
The Origins and Impact of the New Police
Indeed, what is the now very familiar 'family reconstitution' other than the rediscovery by historians of that most basic and universal human community? At the same time it must be admitted that the discoveries made by demographers about such things as age of marriage, size of families and birth control in early modern England have been nothing short of revolutionary. There is no better way of charting recent trends in the study of social history than to consider the themes chosen for the annual conferences of the Social History Society.
Under the leadership of Professor Harold Perkin the society has, since , given a new direction to the subject while at the same time holding fast to real history rather than pursuing merely theoretical concepts of human activity. It has considered, usually with contributions from all periods of history, such topics as 'elites' which have little to do with 'class' , 'crime, violence and social protest' a meaningful combination of historical phenomena , 'the professions' drawing on topics as diverse as classical lawyers and Victorian marine-engineers , 'work in its social aspects', 'popular culture' and, this year, 'sex and gender' which, although predictably attracting many specialists in women's studies, also led to a much broader consideration of the differing roles of men and women through the ages.
Next year's theme, that of 'property', promises to produce an equally varied response.
Bibliography - Bibliography: Policing - Central Criminal Court
Undoubtedly one of the strengths of social history today is the encouragement it has given to, and the response by specialists in such fields as the history of law and its enforcement, of medicine and its practice, of industry, commerce, shipping and seamanship, vernacular architecture, domestic furnishings, costume, the fine arts, music and, to a lesser extent, of literature, to provide for their subjects a social dimension.
The vast output of political biography, including that concerned with Members of Parliament, testifies to the need felt by political and even constitutional historians for figures of flesh and blood. Not even Stubbs's Charters were compiled by mindless robots. Without the aid of such professional expertise social historians would lack access to all these activities which make up the totality of people's achievements. But even to read the relevant published work is a daunting task and this may well result in social historians taking refuge in ever-narrowing territorial and chronological confines.
Indeed some are already doing so. This will at least serve to underline the need for precision, both of time and space. Not only change but also continuity need to be both dated and mapped, especially in a country as diverse in its human ecology as England. The burgeoning of social history, especially during the last decade, has ensured that in the writing of general history people are now firmly in the foreground, their institutions mere reflections of the need to formalise and stabilise their relationships.
More and more historians are seeking to describe society as a whole, being no longer concerned exclusively either with the squirarchy or with the root- less poor, with conspicuous consumption or with crises of subsistence. Cohesion is becoming as important as conflict. Social historians are, then, today's equivalent of the one-time honourable profession of general practitioners, whose only failing was that they concerned themselves with little besides national and international politics.
In the best of today's textbooks social history is no longer reserved for an obligatory final chapter. The most famous definition of social history — always quoted, invariably criticised, and never fully understood - is that of G. Trevelyan, who began his English Social History by defining it as 'the history of the people with the politics left out. Yet, although most social historians today implicitly or explicitly reject Trevelyan's definition, and believe themselves to belong to a more professional, more rigorous, more recent tradition, those who read a little further in his book would be surprised by both the catholicity and contemporainety of his conception of the subject.
To Trevelyan, spelling it out in more detail, social history encompassed the human as well as the economic relations of different classes, the character of family and household life, the conditions of labour and leisure, the attitude of man towards nature, and the cumulative influence of all these subjects on culture, including religion, architecture, literature, music, learning and thought.
This is a formidable and fashionable list. Of course, there was not much sign of such subjects in Trevelyan's own works of synthesis, as the necessary research had not yet been done. And it would be unrealistic and ahistorical to credit him with too much clairvoyance. But in drawing attention to such an agenda of research interests, he certainly anticipated the work of such major scholars of our own day as Eric Hobsbawm, E.
Ironically, the last great practitioner of the old social history was one of the first to foresee the scope and shape of the new. So Trevelyan might well be pleased with the massive expansion in social history which took place in the three decades since the Second World War and the writing of his most famous book. In addition, a whole variety of allied subjects — urban history, women's history, family history, the history of crime, of childhood, of education — are its near relatives, each with their own societies, journals and conferences.
But growth can be as disquieting as exhilarating. For as social history becomes more vast and varied, it becomes harder to keep up with it all, and more difficult to define it in any way other than descriptively. Most offenders brought before the courts came from the working class. It did not matter that their offences were generally petty compared with the frauds committed by middle-class businessmen, it was the mass of petty offenders who provided the data for the image of 'the criminal'.
Most offenders brought before the courts were male. This suited Victorian perceptions of the separate spheres, and ensured that women brought before the courts, especially for violent offences, tended to be treated more harshly than men. Not only had they transgressed the law, they had also transgressed the perceptions of womanhood. Recidivism was more serious among women probably because it was more difficult for a woman to live down the shame of a criminal conviction.
Whether the Victorians were right to think that crime was in decline must remain an open question. But, the periodic panics over sensational crimes like 'garrotting' and the murders of Jack the Ripper, aside, perhaps they generally slept better than their descendants. Detailing the darker side of London life for the last years, the London Dungeons include a section on Jack the Ripper and Victorian crime.
Tel: The West Midlands Police Museum houses a wide range of pictures, information and items to show the development of policing in and around Birmingham. The home of the greatest Victorian sleuth, faithfully preserved as it would have been in the nineteenth century. Educated at the Universities of York and Cambridge, he has taught at the University of Paris and held visiting posts in Australia and Canada. Search term:.
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Take a journey through the history of the home. Each room tells a different story. The document that directed the design of the educational programme also emphasized knowledge about society and social problems; behaviour among different individuals and groups; democracy and human rights; and minorities and multicultural issues. In , the present-day police education was introduced. It stretches over two and a half years, with six months in the field. Thus, all studies last six months longer than in Due to increased integration of different teaching subjects, problem-based learning and a more thematic design, this curriculum is even more difficult to compare in detail with the earlier curricula.
Even before the reform, during the s, there were ideas about making police education a part of the ordinary university system SOU , p. This was also proposed in official reports from , and then again in DS , SOU Police education in Sweden is still under the direct control of the police authorities and not formally a part of the university system. However, during the past ten years, this education has gradually been transferred from the Police Academy to the universities and the university colleges, where courses are offered that meet the guidelines and requirements established by the police authorities.
This solution was the product of the liberal-conservative government, which did not want to make police education fully a part of the university system: thus this partial education within universities and university colleges.
Services on Demand
However, the Social Democrats, which formed a government after the election in September , are in favour of police education that is fully a part of the university system. In march , the government decided to appoint a new commission of inquiry to examine how the police education can be transformed into a university programme ending with a formal degree.
Dir Thus, there may be changes once again. Recruitment and education of the police have changed enormously in Sweden since the beginning of the 20th century. Centralization has increased so that recruitment and education have gradually become more uniform. The state took over the police school in , long before the Swedish police was nationalized in Even though recruitment was a local affair until , it gradually became more uniform and more centralized. The education has gradually been prolonged, from about 21 weeks during the s and s, to about 40 weeks plus field work during the s, that is, a doubling.
At the same time, teaching in subjects that here have been labelled as theoretical has increased three-fold in teaching time. But the relative increase has been more moderate, that is, the percentage of teaching time for theoretical subjects has not increased that much over time. Simultaneously, there has also been a rise in the demand for prerequisites, including previous school knowledge and diplomas from earlier education.
There has also been further prolongation of the programme, first from 15 months in plus practical training to the present-day two-year education plus practical training in During this time span, the official reports have discussed how to change recruitment and education in order to promote the development of a social, representative and intellectual police force.
The aim has also been the same, that is, to change the values, the work and the role of the police. Thus, there is a long historical continuity behind the present day reform efforts and official views on the police that the police trainees are confronted with from the government, police authorities, the Police Academy, politicians and different experts. Research has shown that the current trainees and police who are working do not entirely share these views and ambitions. How trainees have regarded these questions during the 20th century and how they have reacted is, of course, hard to know, but it is clear that since the end of the s trainees have been confronted with such ambitious reform attempts.
These ambitions have not been limited to the recruitment of new groups and changes in the curriculum, but they have also aimed at fostering and moulding the values and personalities of trainees. This has partly been the manifestation of needs and requirements that have arisen, but also — as it is today — a way of legitimatizing the police.
How is this development to be explained? To what social, political and ideological contexts can the changes in recruitment and education of police trainees be attributed? The development of society, with technical changes, specialization, internationalization and democratization, has modified working life and working conditions for many occupational groups, including the police. It has been necessary and sometimes also natural to alter the recruitment and education of police trainees, when the surrounding society has developed and the working conditions for the police have changed.
A more specific process of great importance has been the development of the educational system. During the 20th century, and especially since World War Two, more people have received a longer formal education: during the early 20th century, compulsory schooling in Sweden was six years, but today almost every young person attends school for twelve years including upper secondary school. Thus, current trainees have a much longer school education than people who became trainees one hundred years ago.
The problem with lack of language skills and poor knowledge about society has changed, and it is easier to develop a more theoretical police education and to associate it with the universities when every trainee has a diploma from upper secondary school. The prolongation and development of police education also reflect a general change in higher education. Several other occupations that originally had a short and mainly practical education now have extended programmes that have been incorporated into the university system.
One example is the education of nurses that became a part of the university system in the s. These processes are partly a consequence of changes in working conditions and working life, but also of professionalization processes. The professional strategy and aims of several occupational groups have been to increase the length of their education, to make it more theoretical and to have it become a university programme that culminates in an academic degree.
For a number of years, the police union has been campaigning to turn police education into a university programme culminating in a formal degree. Another process of great importance has been the emergence of the welfare state, of which the police became a part. When the ambitions and the resources of the welfare state to take care of its citizens increased, the role of the police changed.
Since the s, there have been recurrent ambitions and reforms to change the organization, the work and the role of the police and to place more emphasis on social tasks, with more service to and better contact with the general public SOU , SOU This has, of course, had an effect on recruitment and education. The welfare state is partly a product of the ambitions of the Swedish Social Democrats. During the decades after World War Two, the power of this party increased, and it became the biggest and most influential political party. One Social Democratic politician who became important in this context was the teacher Bengt Folke Elmgren, a member of parliament First Chamber —66 and of the board of the police school —63 , but not a member of the government.
He was responsible for the report that led to the introduction of psychology into police education. He was also the chairman of the subsequent commission that wrote the important official report with its ambitious proposals for a social, representative and intellectual police force SOU He was the only politician in these committees. It was only in this committee that a politician was a leading member. However, as was shown earlier, direct political influence was limited, and the appointed commissions consisted mainly of experts from the Police Academy and other police authorities, as well as from the judicial system.
A part of the expansion of the welfare state was the emergence and development of the behavioural sciences. These subjects were seen as important, even outside the universities, and they became part of the efforts to create a better society with the help of science and social engineering. Sociology was established as a new and independent academic subject during the s, and after World War Two it became increasingly popular and important.
It was seen as an important subject for the understanding and changing of society, and therefore its study was important for everyone who planned to work within the social field Larsson , p. As has been seen, the subject of social studies was introduced into the police curriculum in Psychology, which came onto the scene in police education in , can be analysed in a similar way.
The field was established in Sweden as an independent academic subject during the end of the s. A rapid expansion of psychology followed at the universities, as did the profession in general. More and more psychologists or people trained in psychology began to work within the field of education, in the industrial sector and within the armed forces Nilsson These subjects stand out as essential in striving to develop a more social police force with knowledge about and understanding of both society and humanity.
This development was not only due to the needs and ambitions of the police, but it was also due to the increased importance of these subjects at the universities and in society. The interest in the core values of the police can also be connected to trends in society. After World War Two, it was important to strengthen democracy in many ways. The attempt to create a more democratic police force during the late s and the s was just one of several manifestations of this ideal.
Another example is development within the school system. To strengthen democratic values was seen as an important goal for schools, when the system was thoroughly investigated and analysed by an official committee after the war. Democracy is still an important task for schools and for other authorities in Sweden, but the emphasis on equality between women and men is also very important today. Attitudes towards women and their participation in working life changed fundamentally in Swedish society during the mid- and late 20th century.
Thus, there have also been increasing demands for the police to recruit women and to work on attitudes towards female trainees and female constables. However, none of the three most important official reports presented here SOU , SOU , SOU wrote about the need for more women within the police force.
The discussion about the need for female trainees started during the s. Formally women and men received equal opportunities within in the police in , that is, the same right to all kinds of work and positions. In its instructions to the next committee of inquiry, appointed in , the government clearly expressed the need for more women within the police force SOU This statement mirrored the spirit in society during the s with its first wave of striving for equality, but it also reflects the formal rules against discrimination in general, and the endeavour to break down the traditional division of different tasks and positions among men and women in working life SOU , p.
A later trend in Swedish society, seen mainly from the s, was the focus on the situation for immigrants and on the discrimination against homosexuals. As a consequence, during the last couple of decades the recruitment of people with non-Swedish backgrounds has been emphasized, as well as counteracting discriminatory attitudes against homosexuals and immigrants within the police. An important question is then if the efforts to create a social, representative and intellectual police force are part of a development that is specific to Sweden?
Of course, there might be specific circumstances in Sweden, such as the welfare state and the strong position of the Social Democrats. But other countries have also developed welfare states. The changes in working life and the professionalization of different occupations are processes that have also influenced the police in other countries. Nor is the establishment and development of sociology and psychology something that occurred only in Sweden; it was a trend that started in the US.
The few examples that I have found from other countries indicate a similar development as in Sweden; police education has been extended in several countries. The same is true of the emphasis on the need for representative police, equality, positive attitudes towards minorities, service and help to the public, and a systematic and reflective attitude in policework.
Thus, it is reasonable to assume a similar underlying historical development in other countries. The lack of research about recruitment and education of police trainees in most other countries makes it difficult to compare the development in Sweden. It is important with more research on this topic, preferably in a comparative perspective.
We know very little about how recruitment and education has changed during the 20th century, especially during its later half. Considering that the research in police history otherwise is fairly extensive in countries like Great Britain, France and Germany, this gap is notable. For Sweden, it would be interesting to have research about how the official reports and their ideas were received, and if there were alternative views.
There were probably different opinions, as there are today. One indication that this was true is the fact that the ambitious proposals concerning the theoretical subjects in the curriculum from the and reports were not fully carried out. The subsequent reforms and changes in the education and curriculum became slightly less radical in this regard. This article shows how research about recruitment and education of police trainees can contribute to the understanding of important aspects of the general field of police history.
Even at the beginning of the 20th century it was important to recruit the right kind of people and to give them adequate training and education. Recruitment and education have changed significantly ever since, which tells us a lot about the development of the police in general. The reforms in recruitment and education show primarily what the state, the police authorities, the judicial system and experts wanted to achieve with the police.
They also illustrate how policework, the role of the police and its relationship with the public have changed. Oppgrader til nyeste versjon av Internet eksplorer for best mulig visning av siden. Hopp til bunn-navigering. English Norsk. Frigi tilgang. Engelsk sammendrag. Keywords: police history, police education, police recruitment, Swedish police, police culture. Introduction The field of research Methodological considerations History of recruitment and education in Sweden Summary and conclusions References Published literature. The field of research Present recruitment and education Research within the field of history of education has not included police education.
The historical development Sweden provides an example of a historical process that has probably occurred in other European countries. Methodological considerations The sources The sources consist mainly of official reports produced under the auspices of the Swedish state. Teaching subjects in the curriculum The attempts to achieve a representative police force mainly appear in the development of recruitment, which will be analysed.
History of recruitment and education in Sweden The s—s — The first police schools The first Swedish police school was established in Uppsala, and it provided a nine-week-long basic education. The s and s — Nationalization and further changes The police education that was introduced in did not last very long. The s and s — A prolonged education Police education was prolonged again in Summary and conclusions Recruitment and education of the police have changed enormously in Sweden since the beginning of the 20th century.
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