One of the characteristics of the modern era is the emergence of new bureaucratic and social mechanisms for the management and control of violence. Our analysis of 150 y of spoken word testimony in the English criminal justice system provides new insight into this critical process. We show how, beginning around the 1800s, trials for violent and nonviolent offenses become increasingly distinct. Driven by a shifting set of underlying signals, this long-term shift in the underlying norms of the system involves both changes in bureaucratic practice and in civil society as a whole.
The civilizing process in London’s Old Bailey
Sara Klingenstein, Tim Hitchcock, and Simon DeDeo
PNAS June 16, 2014