Language of criminalistic research as a basis for studying criminal legal phenomena

anthropology and technology, human-machine interactions

This essay for the inaugural issue of Technology and Language explores the complicated interrelation of conceptual and technological change in the context of scientific development. It shows how these relations become even more complex in the age of information technologies. Criminalistic research offers a case in point. It is defined by a set of technologies and a precise language which serves to render vague legal concepts determinate. Technology is not only used by law enforcement and the science behind it, it is also used for committing criminal acts. In this case, as criminals learn to draw on the technical vocabulary of the information society, criminalistic science has to develop or refine its vocabulary in order to define and characterize the new kinds of criminal activities. This marks a dialectical moment in the development of contemporary societies.