The Rise and Fall of the 'Social Crime' in Legal Theory and International Law: The Failure to Create a New Normative Order to Regularize Terrorism, 1880-1930s
Karl Härter, Tina Hannappel, Conrad Tyrichter (eds.), The Transnationalisation of Criminal Law and Security in the 19th and 20th Century: Crimes, Instruments, Regimes and Normative Orders (Studien zu Policey, Kriminalitätsgeschichte und Konfliktregulierung, 2018, Forthcoming)
12 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2018 Last revised: 15 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 1, 2018
At the end of the nineteenth century, the concept of the social crime developed in response to the violent deeds of the anarchists and other subversives. This essay will examine how and why this idea of the social crime permeated legal theory and international law with increasing frequency prior to and after World War One, but fell out of favor by the mid-1930s. It virtually disappeared from legal and political discourse following 1945, although vestiges of it remain in European penal codes. The decline of the social crime was due to the fact that its definition of terrorism no longer fit the violent deeds at the forefront of terrorist practice and demonstrates how perceptions of terrorism have evolved historically.
Keywords: social crime, anarchism, terrorism, international law
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