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Home > To be noted > Events

Our congratulations go to Fabien PROVOST for successfully defending his doctoral thesis on 12 April 2019!

Fabien’s supervisors were Daniela BERTI, researcher at CEH, and Anne de SALES, associate member of CEH


Title of the doctoral thesis

Ethnography of forensic science practices in India

presented by Fabien PROVOST, PhD student affiliated to CEH
• Janine BARBOT, senior researcher, INSERM, rapporteur
Daniela BERTI, chargée de recherche au CNRS, supervisor
• Baudouin DUPRET, senior researcher, CNRS
• Perig PITROU, researcher, CNRS, rapporteur
Anne de SALES, directrice de recherche au CNRS, supervisor
• Gilles TARABOUT, emeritus senior researcher, CNRS
The examiners unanimously acknowledged the excellence of Fabien’s thesis.

While many studies address the role of forensic expertise in judicial deliberations, few studies focus on the way medicine and law are interlinked in experts’ daily lives. Yet testifying in court is only one aspect of forensic doctors’ activities. To understand how these experts make use of the interface between medicine and law therefore means moving away from the courtroom to focus on the daily practice of expertise in hospitals. From this perspective, this thesis is based on a one-year ethnographic survey I conducted in three hospital mortuaries in North India, as well as on work that relied on legal records. The case studies used are based on an analysis of interactions between doctors and police officers or family members, of the time required to examine corpses and of the strategies used when writing forensic reports. While placing Indian forensic medicine in its historical, sociological and institutional context, this work – at the crossroads between medical anthropology and legal anthropology – aims to establish how forensic doctors understand forensic cases, and how they write their reports and act upon facts. A forensic diagnosis and its written formulation appear to be developed through a hybrid process which, when analysed, helps to grasp the epistemological, political and social issues of forensic practice.

Keywords: forensic medicine; India; morgue; autopsy; medico-legal report; writing

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