Article ID: CBB001213339

Forensic Cultures in Historical Perspective: Technologies of Witness, Testimony, Judgment (and Justice?) (2013)


Hamlin, Christopher S. (Author)

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Volume: 44, no. 1
Issue: 1
Pages: 4-15

Publication Date: 2013
Edition Details: Lead article in a special issue, “Forensic Cultures”
Language: English

This article explores the history of forensic science in terms of ideologies and institutions rather than developing technique. It presents an analytical framework for characterising forensic institutions and practices, past and present. That framework highlights the distinct issues of means of witness, accredited testimony, and the reaching of juridical decisions. The article applies the framework by comparing four forensic `formations,' (or `cultures') which have been prominent at various times and places in the western world from the early modern period onward: these are the central European heritage of the Caroline code, a eugenically-oriented forensic enterprise of late nineteenth-century America, the forensic perspective in nineteenth-century British India, and the representation of forensic certainty in contemporary American popular culture. The article concludes with a critique of what seems an increasingly common expectation: that forensic science evolves independently of legal institutions, and can ultimately displace them.


Description Contents:

Includes Series Articles

Article Burney, Ian (2013) Making Space for Criminalistics: Hans Gross and fin-de-siècle CSI. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (pp. 16-25). unapi

Article Winter, Alison (2013) The Rise and Fall of Forensic Hypnosis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (pp. 26-35). unapi

Article Jermyn, Deborah (2013) Labs and Slabs: Television Crime Drama and the Quest for Forensic Realism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (pp. 103-109). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Murmann, Johann Peter
Stamhuis, Ida H.
Fressoz, Jean-Baptiste
Bijsterveld, Karin
Wang, Wenzhi
Mei, Jianjun
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
History and Technology
Ziran Kexueshi Yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences)
Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Cambridge University Press
MIT Press
English Heritage
Yale University Press
Aarhus Universitetsforlag
Columbia University Press
Technology and society
Cross-national comparison
Societies; institutions; academies
Forensic sciences
Newton, S. W. A.
Mayer, Alfred Marshall
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
21st century
Edo Era (Japan, 1603-1868)
United States
Great Britain
Statistical Society of London
Société de Statistique de Paris
Royal Society of Arts

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