The governance of the dead in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries gave rise to a new arrangement of thanato-politics in the West. Legal, medical and bureaucratic institutions developed innovative technologies for managing the dead, maximising their efficacy and exploiting their vitality. Law and the Dead writes a history of their institutional life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
With a particular focus on the technologies of the death investigation process, including place-making, the forensic gaze, bureaucratic manuals, record-keeping and radiography, this book examines how the dead came to be incorporated into legal institutions in the modern era. Drawing on the writings of philosophers, historians and legal theorists, it offers tools for thinking through how the dead dwell in law, how their lives persist through the conduct of office, and how coroners assume responsibility for taking care of the dead.
This historical and interdisciplinary book offers a provocative challenge to conventional thinking about the sequestration of the dead in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It asks the reader to think through and with legal institutions when writing a history of the dead, and to trace the important role assumed by coroners in the governance of the dead. This book will be of interest to scholars working in law, history, sociology and criminology.
Table of Contents
1 Law in the Necropolis
2 Visual Regimes of the Dead
3 The Bureaucratic Logic of Office
4 Dead Records
5 Screening the Corpse
Dr Marc Trabsky is a Senior Lecturer in Law at La Trobe University, Melbourne.
The book was awarded the LSAANZ Book Prize 2019