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Police StoriesBuilding the French State, 1815-1851$
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John Merriman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195072532

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195072532.001.0001

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Situations IrrÉguliÈres: The Comings and Goings of Ordinary People

Situations IrrÉguliÈres: The Comings and Goings of Ordinary People

(p.118) 5 Situations IrrÉguliÈres: The Comings and Goings of Ordinary People
Police Stories

John Merriman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the policing of those considered “outsiders”, as police monitored the comings and goings of ordinary people in French cities and towns. These included beggars and vagabonds, many of whom found themselves in an “irregular situation” by virtue of not having proper papers for travel or work. Dépôts de mendicité, which were institutions in which beggars could be incarcerated, were not really a solution to the enormous numbers of beggars and vagabonds. Policemen were also alert to the occasional presence of bands of thieves. The arrival of ordinary travelers, particularly if they were from the lower classes, was of interest to police, as well. Police were well aware of the predictable arrival of seasonal workers traveling to their places of employment, as well as various regional characteristics of the people moving through town, and for the most part did not imagine trying to impose perfect “order” on the urban space for which they were responsible.

Keywords:   beggars, vagabonds, outsiders, bands of thieves, seasonal workers, passports, worker livrets

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