The lore of criminal accusation

Criminal Law and Philosophy 1 (1):79-97 (2007)
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In crime-obsessed cultures, the rudimentary trajectories of criminalizing processes are often overlooked. Specifically, processes of accusation that arrest everyday life, and enable possible enunciations of a criminal identity, seldom attract sustained attention. In efforts at redress, this paper considers discursive reference points through which contextually credible accusations of ‘crime’ are mounted. Focusing particularly on the ethical dimensions of what might be considered a ‘lore’ (rather than law) of criminal accusation, it examines several ways that exemplary cases reflect paradigms of accusatorial practice, accuser identity formation and accused response. With such assumptive grids in mind, the paper signals the potential value of rescuing accusation from fundamental attachments to (a criminally defined) order and disorder, as well as images of a distinct accuser and accused offender. It then alludes to the prospect of pursuing justice through less exclusive forms of accusation



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