525.5 Justice in context: The routinized ground of decision-making in courts

Friday, August 3, 2012: 1:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Pedro GERALDO , Anthropology, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil
This paper purposes a praxeological analysis (Dupret 2006) of decision making from an ethnographical observation in Southern French Courts. The fieldwork consists in several judicial hearings observation and interviews with different judges and clerks.

Judicial decision is understood as an intellectual and lonely act performed by judges. Based on these assumptions, philosophical approaches develop models in order to guide the “fair” or “best” decision. Nonetheless, these perspectives neglect an important bureaucratic work on proceedings. This work is very meaningful for professionals of judiciary system.

Based on my observations, decision-making accounts many contextual and bureaucratic reasons that involve direct participation of different professionals and lay people. Court clerks and judges produce together order in Courts that is maintained by a collective effort. Decision-making is then considered as an important part of this work which account rather practical reasons related to contextual work than abstract issues.

Hence I suggest that decision-making is a cooperative and routinized work accomplished in context by many participants.