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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg March 12, 2016

Law-in-action versus Science-in-action

How they differ and how they can benefit from their differences

  • Thomas Scheffer


How do law-in-action and science-in-action approaches differ and how can they learn from these differences? In order to answer this question, the author compares two exemplary empirical studies: a study by Paul Drew on cross-examination in court and one reconstruction of a soil science research project by Bruno Latour. As a first step, the article identifies strengths, foci, and framing devices for each study. In a second step, the author contrasts these characteristics. He identifies similarities in terms of the sequential order of legal and scientific activities and differences in terms of the spatiotemporal framings of these activities. In a third part, the author defines a shared problem: the fabrication of lasting and translocal statements. In light of the problem of discoursivation, the two studies appear as complementary. The event-bias of the courtroom study and the process-bias of the laboratory study read as (partial) contributions to the study of discoursivation. The potentials to learn from each other derive from exactly these diverse emphases. By combining staging and mobilisation, the article concludes, law-in-action as well as science-in-action research can draw a denser picture on how ephemerals such as observations or utterances are turned into discursive facts.

Online erschienen: 2016-3-12
Erschienen im Druck: 2006-5-1

© 2006 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart

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