Läkaren, döden och brottet : Studier i den svenska rättsmedicinens etablering
Sammanfattning: This dissertation investigates the long historical process leading up to the establishment of Swedish forensic medicine in the middle of the 19th century. Both the development of the practice of investigating suspicious deaths, primarily through autopsies, and the scientific development, leading up to the founding of forensic medicine as a medical discipline and a distinct field of knowledge are dealt with. The focus of the study is primarily on the historical process itself, its phases, continuities and discontinuities. The theoretical framework is based on three analytical concepts: medicalization, professionalization and institutionalization. Special attention is also paid to the characteristics of forensic medicine, its position between the law and the medicine, and the consequences this had on its scientific development. The first analytical chapter of the dissertation investigates the oldest medico-legal activities on Swedish ground, with emphasis on the 17th and 18th centuries. In the following chapters the main focus is on the transition period between the older medico-legal activities and the 19th century forensic medicine, an analytical distinction used throughout the dissertation, and the institutionalization of forensic medicine as a teaching subject. The dissertation also includes an historical reconstruction of different aspects of the autopsy practice. Autopsies are viewed as physical operations and a special kind of sign reading, situated between the old semiotic model and the new diagnostic method of the 19th century. In the last chapter the process leading up to the foundation of a distinct forensic field of knowledge in Sweden is studied.
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