Description - Bodies of Evidence by Ian A. Burney
The author 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. During the 19th and early 20th 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-honoured bulwark of English popular liberties. This study 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, Ian 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 claims is that traditional narratives of the rise of expertise in the 19th century obscure the tension between the needs of modern governance on the one hand and the politics of expanding popular participation on the other.
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(229mm x 152mm x 16mm)
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
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Book Reviews - Bodies of Evidence by Ian A. Burney
Author Biography - Ian A. Burney
Ian A. Burney is a Wellcome Research Lecturer at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester.