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Crime, society and the state in the nineteenth century Philippines

Bankoff, Greg (1990) Crime, society and the state in the nineteenth century Philippines. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The subject of this thesis is the nineteenth century Philippines. Its objective is twofold: to use the criminal archives to create a social perspective of town and country life during this period; and, then, to examine the role of the judicial system in Spain's colonial order as it emerged in the Philippines. The thesis's structure reflects this dual objective.

The first part of the thesis explores the nature of crime in nineteenth century society, the degree to which it fluctuated over time, the types of offences that were common to particular localities, and the factors that gave rise to specific criminal activities. This has been achieved by a series of comparisons: urban-rural as between Manila and the provinces; inter-urban as between various administrative sub-divisions of Manila; and inter-regional as between the two provinces of Cavite and Camarines Sur. Emphasis has been placed on the indigenous population as social protesters, economic participators and cultural initiators in society.

The second part of the thesis deals with the emergence of the judicial aspects of the state during the nineteenth century. The law became increasingly codified, the courts became increasingly professionalised, enforcement became increasingly specialised and punishment became increasingly institutionalised. A concept of the state within the Philippines is proposed in which the judicial system was developed primarily as an instrument of governance and only secondarily as a mechanism of justice. Finally, the judicial role of the Church is examined from this perspective.

In conclusion, it is argued that the state that emerged during the nineteenth century was the product of the interaction between indigenous society and Spanish aims to preserve the colonial order in the Philippines.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Humanities
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University’s Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Warren, James
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