This book provides an anthropological exploration of the ways in which crime is perceived and defined, focusing on notions of truth, intentionality, and evidence. The chapters contain rich ethnographic case studies drawn from work in the Middle East, Africa, India, Mexico and Europe. A variety of instances are discussed, from court proceedings, police reports and newspapers to moments of conflict resolution and reconciliation. Through analysis of this material, the authors reflect on how perception of an act as a crime can differ and how the definition of crime may not be shared by all societies. The approach takes into consideration local standards as well as social, legal and contextual constraints.
Table of Contents
1. Questioning the Truth. Ideals of Justice and Trial Techniques in India 2. Evidence, Certainty, and Doubt: Judge's Knowledge in Iranian Criminal Sanctioning 3. The (ir)relevance of avowals in the interpretation of criminal evidence in Syria 4. On intentionality in Mafia crimes 5. Crime, intentionality and blood money in Algeria and Sudan 6. “To Lose Oneself While Acting”: Crime and Forgiveness in the Mixe Highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico 7. Translating evidentiary practices and technologies of truth finding: oath taking as witness testimony in plural legal configurations in rural Morocco 8. A faded narrative: reconstruction and restitution in medico-legal expertise in India 9. Technologies of truth and access to justice: Becoming an apartheid victim in contemporary South Africa
Yazid Ben Hounet is a Visiting Scholar of Anthropology at New York University, USA
Deborah Puccio-Den is a Research Fellow in Anthropology at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, CNRS, France