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Drunks, Pests and Harlots: Criminal Women in Perth and Fremantle, 1900-1939

This book (scheduled for publication in 2013) is the first crime history text to look extensively at the lives of women engaging in criminal activities on the streets of Perth and Fremantle in the early twentieth century. With a focus on offences against good order - drunkenness, idle and disorderly, soliciting and vagrancy– this research identifies the ways in which criminal women went directly against ideals of the ‘good’ woman and were excluded from social citizenship. Their greatest act of deviance was in creating a disturbance in public. These women, among the dangerous classes of criminals, posed a threat to the gender order. Close socio-biographical investigation into the lives of women staring out from mug shots in police and prison records, enables greater understanding of different personal experiences that in some way contributed to a life on the streets. Drunks, Pests and Harlots humanises the women named and shamed in the press reports and captured for posterity in police mug shots. It uncovers personal histories of women cast out from society.


Dr Leigh Straw

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