The Iconic Apache: Early 1900s Paris and the Making of a Criminal Bogeyman

Jérôme Beauchez, in "The British Journal of Criminology", azae022, 2024.

This article describes the creation of a criminal icon, the Paris Apache, brandished as a threat by the press and conservative politicians alike at the turn of the twentieth century in France. Archival analysis points to the theory that this figure of street crime was turned into a criminal ‘bogeyman’. The iconic Apache bogeyman allowed those manipulating it to focus the general public’s fears and attention on factual violence (crimes, assaults and misdemeanours) of which the structural causes (political instability and socio-economic inequalities) were masked by framing the criminal icon as solely responsible. This bogeyman role, embodied by the Apache in the past, is also examined in the present and analysed critically from the perspective of cultural criminology. See more