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Crown Courts can be seen as truth-finding engines. They allow and discriminate certain methods of probing the truth-claims in front of judge and jury. Crucial for the Crown Court procedure is the relation of prior/translocal statements and local/current performances. Or, to put it forward as a research question: in how far are former contributions binding for the examinations of the trials ?

Generally truth-finding in jury trials is characterised in terms of embodied orality and performance. Witnesses are examined in question-answer plays vis-a-vis the listening jury. This view, however, does not include the manifold references towards the textual basis collected and selected during the pre-trial. Of highly relevant is, for instance, the recorded police-protocol.

This is one of my findings in regard to the jury trials in the Crown Court. Truth-finding takes place in between local/embodied orality and the translocal/procedural "scriptual economy" (de Certeau). Orality and textuality are variously intertwined and practically assembled. The textual basis co-produces utterances in friendly examinations as well as their probing in cross-examination. The witness is, by way of scripts and contrasts, indirectly bound to what he/she said prior during the pre-trial. The witnesses - including defendant and alleged victim - are bound to its procedural history.

Useful literature: Ethnography and fieldwork

•  Appaduarai, Arjun (1986) The Social Life of Things. Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

•  Agar, Michael H. (1980) The Professional Stranger. An Informal Introduction to Ethnography. Orlando : Academic Press.

•  Atkinson, Paul; Coffey, Amanda; Delamont, Sara; Lofland, John; Lofland, Lyn (Eds.) Handbook of Ethnography . Los Angeles , London , Delhi , Singapore : Sage.

•  Becker, Howard (1998) Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research while You're Doing It. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

•  Berg, Eberhard; Fuchs, Martin (Hg.) (1993) Kultur, Soziale Praxis, Text. Die Krise der ethnographischen Repräsentation. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

•  Cicourel, Aaron V. (1970) Methode und Messung in der Soziologie. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.

•  Denzin, Norman (1997) Interpretive Ethnography . Thousand Oaks , CA : Sage.

•  Garfinkel, Harold (1967) Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

•  Geertz, Clifford (1973) The Interpretation of Culture. New York : Basic Books.

•  Geertz, Clifford (1983) Dichte Beschreibung. Beiträge zum verstehen kultureller Systeme. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

•  Goffman, Erving (1964) The neglected situation. In: American Anthropologist 66, 133-136.

•  Goffman, Erving (1959) The Presentation of Everyday Life. New York : Doubleday Anchor Books.

•  Hirschauer, Stefan; Amann, Klaus (1998) Die Befremdung der eigenen Kultur. Zur ethnographischen Herausforderung soziologischer Empirie. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.

•  Keane, Webb (1997) Signs of Recognition . Power and Hazards of Representation in an Indonesian Society. Berkeley , Los Angeles , London : University of California Press.

•  Knorr, Karin (1984) Die Fabrikation von Erkenntnis. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.

•  Maanen , John van (1988) Tales of the Field. Chicago University Press.

•  Malinowski, Bronislaw (1922/1979) Argonauten der Westlichen Pazifik. Frankfurt: Syndikat.

•  Malinowski, Bronislaw (1985) Ein Tagebuch im strikten Sinn des Wortes. Neuguinea 1914-18. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.

•  Sanjek, Roger (ed.) Fieldnotes: The Makings of Anthropology. Ithaca , NY : Cornell University Press.

•  Soeffner, Hans-Georg (1989) Auslegung des Alltags Alltag der Auslegung. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.

•  Spradley, James P. (1979) The Ethnographic Interview. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

•  Spradley, James P. (1980) Participant Observation. London : Holz, Rinehart and Winston.

•  Smith, Dorothy, E. (2005) Institutional Ethnography. A Sociology for People. Lanham , New York , Toronto , Oxford : Altamira Press.

•  Sudnow, David (1978) Ways of the Hand. Cambridge , MA : Harvard University Press.

•  Warren, Carol, A. (1988) Gender Issues in Field Research. Newbury Park : Sage.

•  Whyte, William F. (1943/1981) Street Corner Society. Chicago : University Press.


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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