Get Criminal Defence and Procedure: Comparative Ethnographies in PDF

By Thomas Scheffer;Kati Hannken-Illjes;Alexander Kozin

ISBN-10: 023028311X

ISBN-13: 9780230283114

ISBN-10: 1349311243

ISBN-13: 9781349311248

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Additional resources for Criminal Defence and Procedure: Comparative Ethnographies in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States

Example text

Before leaving me to my file, he noted, in a half joking tone, that my door should stay open so that people could see if I was sneaking files into my pocket. I was taken aback by such an explicit demonstration of distrust. But then again: they did not really know who I was, and still I was allowed to look through the files of current cases without any benefit for them; this exhibited trust already. At that point, both the lawyer and I seemed to be struggling with how to define our relationship and the degree of my “inclusion”.

Field access is not a prominent issue in socio-legal studies. However, for law-in-action research, it seems relevant to accomplish some kind of closeness to or intimacy with the local application and workings of the law. Depending on the unit of analysis, this closeness or intimacy is part of ethnographic methods as, for instance, are open interviews, audio recordings of judicial discourses, semi-standardized observations of defined settings, or video recordings of routine legal work. Hence, field access is not just another issue for ethnographic studies, and this is hardly surprising in the case of those studies that are not based on extensive longitudinal fieldwork.

This position might explain the diversity of narrative formats, styles, and perspectives. We see this diversity as an advantage: it is by not forcing the narratives into a comparison frame that we prepare the ground for comparison. In the final section of this chapter we translate the three thematic outlooks into some lessons and recommendations. The English case study: Exploring proceedings It seems that studies of criminal proceedings ‘naturally’ begin and take place in the courtroom. The same holds true for my first steps in the English criminal legal process.

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Criminal Defence and Procedure: Comparative Ethnographies in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States by Thomas Scheffer;Kati Hannken-Illjes;Alexander Kozin


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