Crime scene investigators as a boundary profession: Organizing the judicial system’s disparate epistemic cultures for cooperation
Increasingly, knowledge of importance to society is produced in cooperation between different professions and organizations in complex systems. Different professions, however, have different and perhaps conflicting understandings of what is regarded as valid knowledge and how it is to be produced, which can make such cooperation difficult. Employing ethnographic methods, this project will study a hybrid profession, namely crime scene investigators (kriminaltekniker), to analyze how the Swedish judicial system makes their cooperation on forensic evidence successful and possible. Crime scene investigators bring together the epistemic cultures of the police and the forensic laboratory in their everyday work, and they translate and mediate between the judicial system’s different professions. Analyzing their training in forensics from the Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science as well as their everyday work will not only contribute to a better understanding of how the judicial system shares and produces knowledge in the form of forensic evidence, but also, in a wider perspective, contribute to understanding the production of knowledge across disparate epistemic cultures. Insights from this project will be useful to other studies of inter-professional knowledge production, for example in medical research and care or the social services. As forensic evidence is given an important role in public understandings of criminal justice, the project is also relevant to society.
Funded by the Swedish Research Council, the project started in January 2013 and is scheduled to continue until December 2015.
Last updated: Tue May 05 11:45:20 CEST 2015