Witnessing for Sociology: Sociologists in Court / Edition 1

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The American court system is making increasing use of sociologists as expert witnesses. From toxic torts to religious cults and brainwashing, sociological knowledge is becoming increasingly more commonplace in the legal arena. This edited volume is a collection of the experiences of sociologists who have appeared as expert witnesses in a variety of court cases. Many of the cases covered in this book revolve around central issues of murder, self-defense, religious cults, battered women, child pornography, environmentalism, and homelessness. This volume is unique in its breadth of topics and contributions.

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Editorial Reviews

Socialists with full-time academic appointments (to exclude professional witnesses) relate their experience being expert witnesses in a broad range of legal areas, focusing on specific ways the sociological knowledge helped shape or fashion the legal questions at issue. The 13 essays discuss making quantitative and statistical studies credible; humanizing the defendant; a paradigm shift in medicine and psychology; and defining the limits of moral accountability on such issues as child pornography, environmental toxins, and housing the homeless. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275948528
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/30/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Lexile: 1430L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

PAMELA J. JENKINS is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of New Orleans.

STEVE KROLL-SMITH is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Environmental Social Science Research Institute at the University of New Orleans.

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Table of Contents

1 Old Stories, New Audiences: Sociological Knowledge in Courts 1
2 "We Don't Deal in Probabilities Here": Tales of a Quantitative Sociologist in Court 19
3 Shadowboxing with Mark Twain: Self-Defense of the Statistical Expert 40
4 Sociology and Capital Murder: A Question of Life or Death 57
5 When Murder May Be Suicide and "Yes" Means "I Heard You": The Sociologist as Cultural Interpreter 70
6 Contested Knowledge: Battered Women as Agents and Victims 93
7 Sociology and the New Religions: "Brainwashing," the Courts, and Religious Freedom 115
8 Sociology, Medicine, and Chemical Dependency: Embedding Drugs and Alcohol in Sociocultural Contexts 135
9 The Sociologist, Gangs, and Battered Women: Representing the Discipline in the Courts 149
10 Sociology and Negligent Security: Premise Liability and Crime Prediction 167
11 Obscenity and Child Pornography: Sociology in Defense of Sexually Oriented Materials 194
12 Toxins in the Environment, Damage to the Community: Sociology and the Toxic Tort 211
13 Housing the Homeless: The Sociologist as Expert and Activist 225
Afterword 247
Cases Cited 251
Selected Bibliography 253
Name Index 257
Subject Index 261
About the Contributors 269
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