Scrutinising the Other: Incapacity, Suspicion and Manipulation in a Death Investigation

Article


Carpenter, Belinda, Tait, Gordon, Quadrelli, Carol A. and Drayton, John. 2015. "Scrutinising the Other: Incapacity, Suspicion and Manipulation in a Death Investigation." Journal of Intercultural Studies. 36 (2), pp. 113-128. https://doi.org/10.1080/07256868.2015.1008436
Article Title

Scrutinising the Other: Incapacity, Suspicion and Manipulation in a Death Investigation

ERA Journal ID11461
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsCarpenter, Belinda (Author), Tait, Gordon (Author), Quadrelli, Carol A. (Author) and Drayton, John (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Intercultural Studies
Journal Citation36 (2), pp. 113-128
Number of Pages16
Year2015
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN0725-6868
1469-9540
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/07256868.2015.1008436
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07256868.2015.1008436
Abstract

In common law countries like England, Australia, the USA and Canada, certain deaths come to be investigated through the coronial system. These include sudden, unnatural or suspicious deaths as well as those which appear to be the result of naturally occurring disease but the precise cause is unknown. When a reportable death occurs in Australia, a number of professional groups become involved in its investigation – police, coroners, pathologists and counsellors. While research has demonstrated the importance of training and education for staff in the context of criminal investigations – with its over-representation of vulnerable and marginalised populations – this is less likely to occur in the context of death investigations, despite such investigations also involving the over-representation of vulnerable populations. This paper, part of larger funded research on the decision-making of coronial professionals in the context of cultural and religious difference, explores the ways in which cultural and religious minority groups – in this case Islam, Judaism and Indigeneity – become differently positioned during the death investigation based upon how they are perceived as ‘other’. Our research raises three issues. First, positioning as ‘the other’ is dependent on the professional training of the staff member, with police and pathologists far more likely than coroners to be suspicious or ignorant of difference. Second, specific historical and contemporary events effect the Othering of religious and cultural difference. Third, the grieving practices associated with religious and cultural difference can be collectively Othered through their perceived opposition to modernity.

KeywordsAutopsy; Coronial Investigation; Indigeneity; Islam; Judaism; Modernity; Othering
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020441011. Sociology of health
480403. Law and humanities
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Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Byline AffiliationsQueensland University of Technology
Department of Health, Queensland
Funding source
Grant ID
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/LP100200393
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