publication . Article . 2008

Shadow writing and participant observation: a study of\ud criminal justice social work around sentencing

Halliday, S.; Burns, N.; Hutton, N.; McNeill, F.; Tata, C.; University of Glasgow; University of Strathclyde; University of New South Wales;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Jan 2008
  • Publisher: Blackwell
  • Country: United Kingdom
The study of decision-making by public officials in administrative settings has been a mainstay of law and society scholarship for decades. The methodological challenges posed by this research agenda are well understood: how can socio-legal researchers get inside the heads of legal decision-makers in order to understand the uses of official discretion? This article describes an ethnographic technique the authors developed to help them penetrate the decision-making practices of criminal justice social workers in writing pre-sentence reports for the courts. This technique, called shadow writing, involved a particular form of participant observation whereby the res...
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7 R. Stebbins, `Fitting in: the researcher as learner and participant' (1987) 21 Quality and Quantity 103- [OpenAIRE]

8. See, also, J. Flood, `Socio-Legal Ethnography' in Theory and Method in Socio-Legal Research, eds. R. Banakar and M. Travers (2005).

8 See, for example, J. Flood, Barristers' Clerks: The Law's Middlemen (1983); C. Hall et al., Telecommunications Regulation: Culture, Chaos and Interdependence inside the Regulatory Process (2000).

9 See S. Halliday Judicial Review and Compliance with Administrative Law (2004).

10 Social Enquiry Reports and Sentencing in Sheriff Courts, ESRC Award R000239939.

11 J. Curran and G. Chambers, Social Enquiry Reports in Scotland (1982); P. Hardiker, Ideologies in Social Inquiry Reports: Final Report to the Social Science Research Council (1975); G. Horsley, The Language of Social Enquiry Reports (1984); B. Hudson and G. Bramhall, `Assessing the ``Other'': Constructions of ``Asianness'' in Risk Assessments by Probation Officers' (2005) 45 Brit. J. of Crim. 721-40.

12 S. Brown, Magistrates at Work (1991); E. Burney, Magistrate, Court and Community (1979); Curran and Chambers, id; L. Brown and L. Levy, Social Work and Criminal Justice: Vol. 4 - Sentencer Decision Making (1998).

13 F. Perry, Information for the Court: A New Look at Social Inquiry Reports (1974); S. Rawson, Sentencing Theory, Social Enquiry and Probation Practice (1982); J. Thorpe, Social Inquiry Reports: A Survey (1979); B. Whyte et al., Social Work in the Criminal Justice System in Scotland: Competencies required by the National Objectives and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System (1995).

34 See, for example, V. Braithwaite, and M. Levi (eds.), Trust and Governance (1998); P. Sztompka, Trust: A Sociological Theory (1999); T. Tyler, and Y. Huo, Trust in the Law: Encouraging Public Co-operation with the Police and the Courts (2002); D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: the Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000); F. Fukuyama, Trust: the Social Virtues and Creation of Prosperity (1995).

35 See, for example, N. Luhmann, `Familiarity, Confidence, Trust: Problems and Alternatives' in Trust: Making and Breaking Co-operative Relations, ed. D. Gambetta (1988); A. Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity (1990); U. Beck, World Risk Society (1999).

37 B. Lange, `The Emotional Dimension in Legal Regulation' (2002) 29 J. of Law and Society 197-225. In relation to judicial work, see S. Roach Anleu and K. Mack, `Magistrates' Everyday Work and Emotional Labour' (2005) 32 J. of Law and Society 590-614.

38 Scottish Executive, National Standards for Social Enquiry and Related Reports and Court Based Social Work Services (2000) at para. 5.1.

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