2012 to 2019
An Anthropology of Medico-legal Expertise in North India
PhD in social anthropology
Supervised by Anne de Sales (LESC, CNRS)

Whereas much has been written about the role played by medico-legal evidence in judicial deliberation, few studies focus on the articulation of medicine and law in the daily lives of experts. However, testifying in courts is but one aspect of forensic medicine. Understanding how medico-legal experts implement the interface between medicine and law therefore requires moving away from the court to focus on the daily practice of forensic expertise in the hospital. In this perspective, this thesis deals with forensic medicine based on a one-year ethnographic survey conducted in three hospital mortuaries in North India, as well as on judicial records. It relies on case studies formed out of the analysis of interactions between doctors and police officers or family members, medico-legal examinations and strategies for writing forensic reports. While placing Indian forensic medicine in its historical, sociological and institutional context, this work, at the intersection of medical and legal anthropology, aims to establish how medico-legal experts understand cases, write their reports and act on reality. The medico-legal diagnosis and its written formulation appear as elaborations, built through a hybrid process whose analysis makes it possible to grasp the epistemological, political and social issues surrounding medico-legal practice.

Areas of interest
Medical anthropology; Anthropology of law; India; Forensic medicine; India; Autopsy; Medico-legal report; Writing

Funds provided by LESC, ED395, CEIAS, Dynamiques Asiatiques programme and Région Île-de-France

Master’s Degree, Social Anthropology (Université de Provence)

French Grande École engineering degree (École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Nancy)