Twin sciences?

The history of forensic science and criminology

Authored by: Paul Knepper

The Routledge International Handbook of Forensic Intelligence and Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138688216
eBook ISBN: 9781315541945
Adobe ISBN:


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Although forensic science and criminology operate as separate disciplines today, historically, they share a common origin. Drawing on the history of forensic science and criminology in Britain, this chapter examines how these disciplines began together, diverged and became separate. In the decades before the First World War, criminology emerged from forensic medicine as a science of criminology. During the interwar period, forensic science and criminology split from one another owing to the ‘sociological turn’ in criminology. During the second half of the twentieth century, criminology and forensic science pursued different disciplines. This separation raises an important question about what might have been.What would the study of crime look like now if forensic scientists and criminologists had remained part of a shared method of inquiry?

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