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In: Thick Comparison
In: Thick Comparison
Author: Thomas Scheffer
Cases are not objects at hand for legal decision-making; cases are not echoes from a past crime. Cases are, first of all, made within compound discourse apparatus, here the English Crown Court and the procedure/s attached to it. This book reveals the legal production of cases including their relevant features. The socio-legal ethnography visits the natural sites of adversarial case-making: law firms, barristers’ chambers, and Crown Courts. It examines the role and dynamics of client-lawyer meetings, pre-trial hearings, plea bargaining sessions, and jury trials. It focuses on the lawyers’ case-making activities, their procedural contexts, and the resulting cases. As an ethnographic discourse study, the book develops a trans-sequential perspective on the interrelated events and processes of case-making – and by doing so, overcomes the shortcomings of talk-bias and text-bias. The trans-sequential approach pays out in detailed case studies on an alibi, on guilt, or the barrister’s notes; it pays out as well in cross-case studies dealing with legal care, procedural infrastructure, or the case system in the common law tradition.
In: Thick Comparison
In: Thick Comparison
Author: Thomas Scheffer

Abstract

Ethnographic comparison identifies and analyses core mechanisms which integrate and drive various ethnographic fields. This is exemplified here by what we term, following Luhmann, "the binding mechanism" – which we identify in criminal cases from England, the United States and Germany. By choosing criminal cases as the dynamic frames of "their" (participants') activity and "our" (observers') analysis, thick comparison questions the sources of stability found in structural comparisons of legal doctrines, namely fixed items, definite meaning, and detached contexts. This paper discusses how these features of structural comparison are replaced by more dynamic components, such as becomings, involvements, and formations.

In: Comparative Sociology

Abstract

This short contribution is a response to Robert Prus’ commentary paper “Ethnographic Comparisons, Complexities and Conceptualities.” We agree with many of the points raised and merely reiterate three aspects of our position in order to reinforce the unique features of our notion of thick comparison: First, ethnography has an important role to play in social inquiry. Second, ethnographers appropriate fields by getting involved in them. This involvement enables the production of comparability, which we do not understand to be an inherent quality of the world. Third, producing comparability is an ongoing process at the heart of thick comparison. Its failure and limitations are productive.

In: Comparative Sociology
In: Comparative Sociology
In: Comparative Sociology

Summary

The associations between Fergusobia nematodes (Neotylenchidae) and Fergusonina flies (Fergusoninidae) represent the only putative example of nematode- and arthropod-associated mutualism. The nematode appears to induce a bud or leaf gall that both organisms use while the fly provides gall maintenance, dispersion, and sustenance for the nematode. Based upon molecular analysis, this is a potentially large monophyletic radiation of more than 50 mostly undescribed species of nematodes and flies that exhibit a high degree of host specificity within the Australasian Myrtaceae (mostly Leptospermoideae; e.g., Eucalyptus, Corymbia, Angophora and Melaleuca). The Agromyzidae (with no known nematode associates) is the putative sister group to the Fergusoninidae. Fergusobia could have evolved from parasitic nematodes similar to present day Howardula that parasitised the cyclorrhaphan stem ancestor of Fergusonina flies and developed a plant-parasitic association that provided a mutual benefit to fly host and nematode. Alternatively, Fergusobia could be related to present day anguinids that produced above-ground galls and developed an association with an agromyzid ancestor. In either case, the evolution of the host-parasite interaction requires that host fly resistance and nematode virulence be moderated in female flies because they are always associated with nematodes.

In: Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress of Nematology, 8-13 June 2002, Tenerife, Spain