Making space for criminalistics: Hans Gross and fin-de-siècle CSI

This article explores the articulation of a novel forensic object—the ‘crime scene’—and its corresponding expert—the investigating officer. Through a detailed engagement with the work of the late nineteenth-century Austrian jurist and criminalist Hans Gross, it analyses the dynamic and reflexive nature of this model of ‘CSI’, emphasising the material, physical, psychological and instrumental means through which the crime scene as a delineated space, and its investigator as a disciplined agent operating within it, jointly came into being. It has a further, historiographic, aim: to move away from the commonplace emphasis in histories of forensics on fin de siècle criminology and toward its comparatively under-explored contemporary, criminalistics. In so doing, it opens up new ways of thinking about the crime scene as a defining feature of our present-day forensic culture that recognise its historical contingency and the complex processes at work in its creation and development
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2012.09.002
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