2nd Edition

Forensic Science A Sociological Introduction

By Christopher Lawless Copyright 2022
    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    Forensic Science provides a comprehensive overview of the sociology of forensic science. Drawing on a wealth of international research and case studies, it explores the intersection of science, technology, law and society and examines the production of forensic knowledge. The book explores a range of key topics such as:

    • The integration of science into police work and criminal investigation

    • The relationship between law and science

    • Ethical and social issues raised by new forensic technology including DNA analysis

    • Media portrayals of forensic science

    • Forensic policy and the international agenda for forensic science

    This new edition has been fully updated, particularly with regard to new technology in relation to the various new forms of DNA technology and facial recognition.

    Updates and additions include:

    • Facial recognition technology

    • Digital forensics and its use in policing

    • Algorithms (such as probabilistic genotyping)

    • Genealogical searching

    • Phenotyping

    This new edition also reviews and critically appraises recent scholarship in the field, and new international case studies have been introduced, providing readers with an international comparative perspective. Engaging with sociological literature to make arguments about the ways in which forensic science is socially constituted and shapes justice, Forensic Science provides an excellent introduction to students about the location of forensic science and the ways it fits within the criminal justice system, as well as systems of professionalisation and ethics. It is important and compelling reading for students taking a range of courses, including criminal investigation, policing, forensic science, and the sociology of science and technology.

    Chapter 1: Forensic Studies: From Crime Scene to Court and Beyond

    Chapter 2: Forensics in the Media

    Chapter 3: Shaping forensic science as discipline and profession

    Chapter 4: Forensic and Biometric Policy in the UK

    Chapter 5: Reconstructing a reconstructive science

    Chapter 6: Law–science interactions and new technology

    Chapter 7: Forensic DNA Technology: Social and Ethical Issues

    Chapter 8: Facial Recognition

    Chapter 9: Digital Forensics

    Chapter 10: Conclusion: Imagining and Re-imagining Forensic and Biometric Technologies


    Christopher Lawless is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Durham University. He specializes in the application of science studies to legal and regulatory issues, with specific research interests focusing on forensic science, criminal investigation and critical infrastructures. Chris originally trained as an analytical biochemist, gaining a BSc in biochemistry and microbiology (Sheffield) and an MRes in instrumentation systems (UCL) and made the transition to the social sciences via a PhD at Durham University, focusing on the sociology of forensic scientific reasoning.