Who Are We?: What C.S.I. Teaches Us About Criminology

Michelle Brown, Ohio University
Bruce Hoffman, Ohio University

ABSTRACT
The resurgence in popular attention focused upon forensic studies is apparent in such diverse social arenas as television programming, the administration of justice, university hiring practices, and criminal justice enrollment. This interesting conjuncture of popular and public culture marks a strategic site for the exploration of criminology's cultural translation. Employing television's top-rated and most successful crime drama for three years running, this paper investigates how C.S.I.'s heightened attention to forensic methodologies, depictions of the scientific process, and centrality of the victim are characteristic of a significant turn in the public discussion of criminology, science, and truth. We then explore how the strength and pervasiveness of these depictions shape the way in which criminology is taught, perceived, and conducted.

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Updated 05/20/2006