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Linking pre-trial and trial

In the literature one finds a lot of criticism against the “talk bias” of courtroom studies. The courtroom occurrences, it is asserted, reduce the course of activities to the exchange of (transcribed) turns while excluding the other layers of discourse involving co-present bodies, filed documents, or technical devices.

Our project picks up on these criticisms by inventing two major extensions of regular courtroom studies: We, firstly, extend the notion of participation towards assemblages of human and none-humans. Agency is distributed on assorted means of production. We, secondly, extend the courses of activity towards the wider production-processes of verbal contributions. Although uttered in court, most contributions only partially derive from the very event.

This extensions call for a sound integration of pre-trial and trial. Cases are only in certain respects local products. One finds a good deal of preparation-work invested into legal arguments, stories, witnesses etc. Cases are becomings that exceed the very instant of the trial. One finds, furthermore, pre-established accounts that, although not explicated in court, confront any in-court performance with binding and potentially threatening contrasts.

The concepts developed on these grounds take into account these wider extensions while at the same time respecting the dynamics and contingencies of the days in court. I employ the notions of career, mobilisation, and materialities of discourse to explore the tensions of process and event. Here lies the conceptual challenge of the law-in-action project: to relate the proximity and its hidden continuities, the dispersed investments and the local payout, the processes of production and consumption.


New activities

Special Issue on "Law and Biography" in BIOS

Call for Abstracts/French-German Conference on “Enfermement/Freiheitsentzug

Latest Texts/Books

My ethnography on the English Crown Court procedure by BRILL

Our comparative ethnography of criminal defence work in different procedural regimes by PALGRAVE

Teaching in SS 2011

Scheffer: „Einführung in die Institutionelle Ethnographie“ Kurs in Moodle

Scheffer: „Was tun Verfahren? Eine sozialwissenschaftliche Debatte“ Kurs in Moodle

Scheffer: „Arbeitskreis politische Ethnographie“ Termine in Moodle

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