Keeping the peace: 'good police' and civic order in 18th-century Copenhagen

Munck, T. (2007) Keeping the peace: 'good police' and civic order in 18th-century Copenhagen. Scandinavian Journal of History, 32(1), pp. 38-62. (doi: 10.1080/03468750601159980)

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This paper locates the emerging professional police force in Copenhagen both in a European-wide context and in the context of Danish absolute monarchy between 1660 and 1799. The surviving source material on the activities of the new police force itself (from 1683) is reviewed, but the notion of 'good police' is placed in a much broader early modern framework involving not only daily security in the city, and matters of criminal and civil law arising naturally in a growing urban environment, but also the relationship between the police master and the many other existing agents of domestic policy in early modern Denmark. The role of 'good police' in terms of begging, vagrancy and the workhouse conform largely to contemporary European patterns, but when the police was also (from 1773) given powers to control newspapers and the press, questions of civil rights and obligations were bound to be raised - not least once public opinion became fully aware that the mental condition of Christian VII meant that absolutism could not operate in the normal way. Although the Copenhagen police provided a tool for more co-ordinated implementation of social policy in the 18th century, there were no sudden changes in domestic agenda.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Munck, Professor Thomas
Authors: Munck, T.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DL Northern Europe. Scandinavia
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Scandinavian Journal of History

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