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Plausible Crime Stories
The Legal History of Sexual Offences in Mandate Palestine

$110.00 (C)

Part of Law in Context

  • Author: Orna Alyagon Darr, Sapir Academic College, Israel and Ono Academic College, Israel
  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108497237

$ 110.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Plausible Crime Stories is not only the first in-depth study of the history of sex offences in Mandate Palestine but it also pioneers an approach to the historical study of criminal law and proof that focuses on plausibility. Doctrinal rules of evidence only partially explain which crime stories make sense while others fail to convince. Since plausibility is predicated on commonly held systems of belief, it not only provides a key to the meanings individual social players ascribe to the law but also yields insight into communal perceptions of the legal system, self-identity, the essence of normality and deviance and notions of gender, morality, nationality, ethnicity, age, religion and other cultural institutions. Using archival materials, including documents relating to 147 criminal court cases, this socio-legal study of plausibility opens a window onto a broad societal view of past beliefs, dispositions, mentalities, tensions, emotions, boundaries and hierarchies.

    • Presents the first in-depth study of the history of sex offences in Mandate Palestine and examines the issue of plausibility in a specific socio-cultural setting
    • Offers an innovative approach to the historical study of criminal law and evidence in relation to plausibility
    • Utilises archival materials and court case documents to examine judicial proceedings and explore the role cultural categories such as age, gender or nationality play in the process of proof
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This remarkable book, by one of Israel’s leading legal historians, explores the fascinating history of sex crimes in mandatory Palestine. Innovative and theoretically sophisticated, it is a must-read for historians of law, but also for anyone interested in the social and cultural context in which the law of evidence, and criminal law, are embedded.' Assaf Likhovski, Tel Aviv University

    'Darr’s masterful study of evidence law in Mandate Palestine decouples absolute truth from knowledge derived through its social context. With keen awareness of the differences among British colonials and Arab and Jewish subjects, she shows how sexual offenses pose particular challenges to courts. What we consider fact is often simply a legal presumption.' Steven Wilf, University of Connecticut

    'This is a deft historical case study of the law in action in a colonial context with broad significance. Based on court records relating to sexual offences during the British Mandate in Palestine, Darr examines colonial and local attitudes to sex and its regulation in a multicultural situation and shows that whether evidence and narratives are accepted as plausible is intimately related to the local political, social and religious context.' William Twining, University College London

    'Her clear and empathetic writing evinces the kind of compassionate care (without compromising attention to detail) that one would offer a friend of loved one who was hurt five minutes ago. Her descriptions of the horrific crimes people experienced, the betrayals in other people's versions, the humiliating and dehumanizing medical examinations children had to undergo, read as fresh now as they must have felt to these people a hundred years ago. It makes one wonder about the impact that these open wounds had on the cultural psyche of the Jewish and Arab peoples, and the extent to which unspoken trauma and injury have fed into the larger mess that is today's Israeli-Palestinian conflict.' Hadar Aviram, California Correctional Crisis (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108497237
    • length: 212 pages
    • dimensions: 258 x 177 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Legal background
    2. Cultural narratives underlying proof: male-to-male offences
    3. Plausibility of children's testimonies: narrator's identity
    4. Plausibility and ethnicity: audience-narrator nexus
    5. Plausible emotions
    6. Corroboration: plausibility embedded in evidentiary standards
    7. Implausible counter-narratives
    List of legal cases
    Appendix: relevant criminal legislation

  • Author

    Orna Alyagon Darr, Sapir Academic College, Israel and Ono Academic College, Israel
    Orna Alyagon Darr is a Senior Lecturer at the law schools of Sapir Academic College and Ono Academic College. She is the author of Marks of an Absolute Witch: Evidentiary Dilemmas in Early Modern England (2011). Her work explores evidence law, criminal law and criminal procedure in their cultural, social and historical context, and her articles have been published in leading academic journals such as Law and History Review, Law and Social Inquiry, Continuity and Change and Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities.

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