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Title: Remaking the medico-legal scene: a social history of the late-Victorian coroner in Oxford.
Authors: Hurren, ET
First Published: Apr-2010
Citation: J HIST MED ALLIED SCI, 2010, 65 (2), pp. 207-252
Abstract: There have been wide-ranging debates about medicine and the law encapsulated in the figure of the coroner in Victorian England. Recently the historical literature on coroners has been enriched by macro-studies. Despite this important research, the social lives of coroners and their daily interactions remain relatively neglected in standard historical accounts. This article redresses that issue by examining the working life of the coroner for Oxford during the late-Victorian era. Edward Law Hussey kept very detailed records of his time in office as coroner. New research material makes it feasible to trace his professional background, from doctor of the sick poor, to hospital house surgeon and then busy coroner. His career trajectory, personal interactions, and professional disputes, provide an important historical prism illuminating contemporary debates that occupied coroners in their working lives. Hussey tried to improve his medico-legal reach and the public image of his coroner's office by reducing infanticide rates, converting a public mortuary, and acquiring a proper coroner's court. His campaigns had limited success because the social scene in which he worked was complicated by the dominance of health and welfare agencies that resented his role as an expanding arm of the Victorian information state.
DOI Link: 10.1093/jhmas/jrp053
eISSN: 1468-4373
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Historical Studies

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