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versión On-line ISSN 1668-8090


DI MEGLIO, G. Buenos Aires'  Thieves: An Aproximation to Robberies  in the City, 1810-1830. Andes [online]. 2006, n.17, pp.15-49. ISSN 1668-8090.

Along with the political agitation Buenos Aires experienced after May 1810, the city had another kind of conflict -sometimes connected with the Revolution-: robbery, a constant phenomenon that took place during the two decades  that followed that event. Robbery has been generally studied together with other offenses committed in this period, in order to evaluate the models of criminality and social control. In this article robbery is analyzed alone, focusing in its economical causes and the influence of the political conjuncture on it. Robbers came almost exclusively from the poor sectors of the society, the so called plebe urbana, since stealing was a way of obtaining resources or having an income, thus avoiding the unemployment due to the fragile and quite seasonal labor structure. The property stolen was introduced into illegal trade nets: it was sold to pulperos and shopkeepers who paid low prices for it and then sold it as part of their activity. The characteristics of that "other" trade -just visible through the judicial and police documentation- are also traced in this article. That trade had a marginal but important place in the economy of Buenos Aires in the post-revolutionary years. The organization and performance of the urban gangs are then examined, and finally the biography of Manuel Recabarren, the most famous thief of the period, is reconstructed.

Palabras clave : Robbers; Gangs; Labor structure; Pulpería; Poor sectors.

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