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Cover Art
Author Burney, Ian A.

Title Bodies of evidence : medicine and the politics of the English inquest, 1830-1826.

Published Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press ; Wantage : University Presses Marketing, 1999.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Law  KN 185 A1 BURN    DUE 18-12-19
Physical description 176 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents 1 Genealogy of the Popular Inquest 16 -- 2 Registers of Death: Inquests and the Regime of Vital Statistics 52 -- 3 From the Alehouse to the Courthouse: Bodies and the Recasting of Inquest Practice 80 -- 4 Telling Tales of the Dead: Inquests, Expertise, and the Postmortem Question 107 -- 5 Fatal Exposures: Anesthetic Death and the Limits of Public Inquiry 137.
Summary In Bodies of Evidence: Medicine, Ian Burney offers an important reinterpretation of the role of the scientific expert in the modern democratic state. At the core of this study lies the coroner's inquest -- the ancient tribunal in English law held to account for cases of unexplained death. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, representatives of "progressive" medical science waged a determined campaign to align the methodology of the inquest with a medical model of investigation and explanation. Yet at the same time the inquest was framed within a second powerful and innovative discourse, one based on an appeal to the inquest as a time-honored bulwark of English popular liberties. Bodies of Evidence takes these parallel visions of the inquest as the point of departure for a wide-ranging examination of the historical process of negotiating expert authority in the public realm.
By insisting on the dynamic interplay between the medical and political visions of the inquest, Burney calls into question many of the basic assumptions about the rise of science as a model for socially authoritative knowledge. Among this study's central and innovative claims is that traditional narratives of the rise of expertise in the nineteenth century obscure the tension between the needs of modern governance on the one hand and the politics of expanding popular participation on the other. Along the way, Bodies of Evidence elegantly evokes the workings of one of the more curious institutions of English civil society, an institution whose somber duties before death were performed with surprising (and occasionally unnerving) vitality.
Subject Medical jurisprudence -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
Medical jurisprudence -- Great Britain -- History -- 20th century.
Medical laws and legislation -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
Medical laws and legislation -- Great Britain -- History -- 20th century.
ISBN 080186240X £33.00