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Title: Naming the dead : the identification of the unknown body in England and Wales, 1800-1934
Author: Joyce, Fraser
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2012
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The identification of the unknown dead in England and Wales has received little scholarly attention from historians, and this thesis - covering the years 1800 to 1934 - represents its first dedicated study. It engages with, and introduces new perspectives on, the histories of sudden death investigation, the modern bureaucratic state, forensic medicine, the place of the dead, and personal, social and legal identities. It situates and studies identification procedure within the context of the inquest, but argues that this inquiry was entirely independent to that into the cause and circumstances of death. This thesis examines the ways in which this medieval investigation was adapted to satisfy the socio-economic and administrative demands of the industrial age, and its development as a legal process in parallel with the rise of the modern bureaucratic state. At the heart of the project - and reflecting its position in identification inquiries - lies the unknown body itself. Using inquest records supported by newspapers and medico-legal literature as a methodological foundation, the thesis analyses the ways in which a range of agents - including coroners, law officers, medico-legal practitioners, the general public, and the press - engaged with the corpse during the investigation, and how their roles and responsibilities developed over the period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available