This book provides a comprehensive overview of the emerging interdisciplinary field of ‘critical forensic studies’. It reviews existing research and scholarship on forensic science from a critical social science perspective, while forging a blueprint for further work in this area. Forensic science has long captured the public imagination, as evidenced by the popularity of novels, television programs, and true-crime podcasts. At the same time, its role in the criminal justice system has been the subject of critique from scholars and practitioners in diverse fields. In response, the international forensic science community has become more involved in the scrutiny of its own knowledge and practices in relation to criminal justice objectives.
Moving beyond a discussion of forensic science as a suite of specialised scientific disciplines that aim to provide evidence to the courts, Critical Forensic Studies offers critical insights relevant to a wide range of social actors in the criminal justice system. Core content includes:
• History and public understandings of forensic science
• The professionalisation of forensic science
• Forensic science as a social process
• Crime scene examination and forensic intelligence
• Experts and evidence in court
• Technological advances and human rights
• Interdisciplinary knowledge, practice and research
This book is essential reading for forensic and criminal justice practitioners and students across criminology, sociology, forensic science, law, and psychology.
Table of Contents
1.The Theory and Practice of Critical Forensic Studies 2.History of Forensic Science 3.Public Understandings of Forensic Science 4.The Professionalisation of Forensic Science 5.Forensic Science as a Social Process 6.Crime Scene Examination and Forensic Intelligence 7.Offenders, Witnesses and Behavioural Approaches to Forensic Science 8.Interagency Collaboration and Interprofessional Communication 9.Experts and Evidence in Court 10.Technological Advances and Human Rights 11.The Effectiveness of Forensic Science 12.Interdisciplinary Knowledge, Practice and Research
Roberta Julian is Professor Emerita in the School of Social Sciences and founding Director of the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies at the University of Tasmania, Australia.
Loene Howes is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania, Australia.
Rob White is Distinguished Professor of Criminology in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania, Australia.
Forensic science has outsized power given its asymmetric status in law enforcement but has been overlooked as a topic of study. Critical Forensic Studies examines forensic science as its own subject, seeking to improve it in light of social justice and human rights. I cannot imagine a more important or timely book.
Max Houck, Professor, Forensic Portfolio Innovator, Global Forensic and Justice Center, Florida International University, USA
Can we deploy in our societies a vision that combines science, security and justice, while respecting human rights? An inspiring critical perspective on forensic science that provides a clear, deep, nuanced, and comprehensive answer. Keep this book handy if you work in a forensic environment.
Olivier Ribaux, Professeur et Directeur, Ecole des Sciences Criminelles, Universite de Lausanne, Switzerland
Forensic science is not only fallible, but can be corrupted and co-opted into unjust systems. Understanding how and why this happens is urgent, making this book essential reading not only for its audit of critical forensic studies but to galvanize a field of research vital for the future of justice.
Carole McCartney, Professor of Law & Criminal Justice, Northumbria University, UK
There is a growing realisation that it is necessary to consider the forensic science endeavour within broader social, cultural, political and legal contexts to exploit its full potential and address current and future challenges. This book is distinctive as it takes the reader through this complicated field through clever use of contemporary research and many case studies. A must-read for all academics and students interested in the subject and forensic practitioners, policy-makers, and legal professionals.
Claude Roux, Professor of Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney, Australia