The Coronial Manual and the Bureaucratic Logic of the Coroner's Office
International Journal of Law in Context, (Frontiers in Coronial Justice), Volume 12, Issue 2, p. 195-209, June 2016
Posted: 9 Sep 2016 Last revised: 15 Sep 2016
Date Written: June 1, 2016
This paper examines the coronial manual as a technique of occupying office in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The manual guided coroners in the performance of their duties, obligations and responsibilities. It was preoccupied with questions of technical knowledge, operational processes and administrative procedure. The language of office that characterised coronial treatises prior to the eighteenth century was gradually supplemented in the nineteenth century by the discourse of bureaucracy. This paper argues that the guidebook professionalised the office of coroner in Australia by setting out procedures, forms and rituals for assuming responsibility for the dead. It also provided advice to coroners for devoting themselves to a vocation in the public service. The paper thus traces historical shifts in the technology of the coronial manual in British colonies and examines how a bureaucratic logic of the coroner's office affected the way in which coroners pursued justice during the death investigation process.
Note: The full article appears in a journal entitled International Journal of Law in Context, published by Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press owns copyright over this article and it is available from Cambridge Journals Online.
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