A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification
By (author) Simon A. Cole
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Suspect Identities by Simon A. Cole
Book Description"No two fingerprints are alike," or so it goes. For nearly a hundred years fingerprints have represented definitive proof of individual identity in our society. We trust them to tell us who committed a crime, whether a criminal record exists, and how to resolve questions of disputed identity. But in this text, Simon Cole reveals that the history of criminal identification is far murkier than we have been led to believe. Cole traces the modern system of fingerprint identification to the 19th-century bureaucratic state, and its desire to track and control increasingly mobile, diverse populations whose race or ethnicity made them suspect in the eyes of authorities. In an intriguing history that traverses the globe, taking us to India, Argentina, France, England, and the United States, Cole excavates the forgotten history of criminal identification - from photography to exotic anthropometric systems based on measuring body parts, from finger-printing to DNA typing. He reveals how fingerprinting ultimately won the trust of the public and the law only after a long battle against rival identification systems. As we rush headlong into the era of genetic identification, and as fingerprint errors are being exposed, this history uncovers the fascinating interplay of our elusive individuality, police and state power, and the quest for scientific certainty.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780674010024
(235mm x 155mm x 27mm)
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 8-Nov-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Simon A. Cole
Truth Machine, Paperback (April 2011)» View all books by Simon A. Cole
DNA profiling is often heralded as unassailable criminal evidence, a veritable "truth machine" that can overturn convictions based on eyewitness testimony, confessions, and other forms of forensic evidence. This book traces the controversial history of DNA fingerprinting by looking at court cases in the US and UK from the mid-1980s onwards.
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Author Biography - Simon A. Cole
Simon A. Cole is Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at University of California, Irvine.
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