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Vagrant Figures – Law, Literature, and the Origins of the Police - Yale Scholarship Online
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Vagrant Figures: Law, Literature, and the Origins of the Police

Sal Nicolazzo


This book, demonstrating the important role of eighteenth-century literary treatments of policing and vagrancy, offers a prehistory of police legitimacy in a period that predates the establishment of the modern police force. The book argues that narrative, textual, and rhetorical practices shaped not only police and legal activity of the period, but also public conceptions of police power. The author's research delves into law and literature on both sides of the Atlantic, tracking the centrality of vagrancy in establishing police power as a form of sovereignty crucial to settler colonialism, s ... More

Keywords: policing, eighteenth-century literature, police legitimacy, police power, settler colonialism, slavery, racial capitalism, literary vagrancy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780300241310
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300241310.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sal Nicolazzo, author
University of California, San Diego