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|Title: ||Cross-examining suggestibility: memory, childhood, expertise|
|Authors: ||Motzkau, Johanna F.|
Child sexual abuse
Child witness practice
|Issue Date: ||2006|
|Publisher: ||© Johanna Franziska Motzkau|
|Abstract: ||Initially a central topic for psychology, suggestibility has been forgotten, rediscovered, evaded
definition, sabotaged experimentation and persistently triggers epistemological short-circuits
when interconnecting psychological questions of memory, childhood and scientificity, with
concrete legal issues of child witnesses' credibility, the disclosure of sexual abuse and
psychological expertise in courts of law.
The aim of this study is to trace suggestibility through history, theory, research and practice,
and to explore its efficacy at the intersection of psychology and law, by examining and
comparing the. concrete case of child witness practice in England and Germany.
Taking a transdisciplinary approach the study draws on two interrelated sources of 'data'
combining historical, theoretical and research literature with the analysis of empirical data. A
genealogy if theory and research is combined with the results of reflexive interviews, conducted in
England and Germany with practitioners from all those professions involved in creating,
applying or dealing with knowledge about child witnesses and suggestibility: judges,
prosecutors, lawyers, police officers, psychologists (researchers, experts) and social workers.
Drawing on the work of G. Deleuze and 1. Stengers this study shows how practical tensions
around reliable witnesses, evidence and expertise merge pragmatically with theoretical
movements employed to adjust the discipline, thereby causing frictions and voids. In this sense
suggestibility provides a liminal resource: It transgresses disciplinary boundaries and pervades
pragmatic and theoretical, global and personal, historical and actual considerations, creating
voids that allow us to reconsider the pragmatics of change and to redefine the issue of critical
impact, as well as to reformulate the problem of child witness practice and children's
The study hopes to make a concrete contribution to facilitating the just prosecution of sexual
abuse by adding transparency to the complex and at times unhelpfully polarised field of child
witness practice. By exploring the 'pragmatics of change' the study furthermore hopes to give
an unsettling and productive impetus to theoretical debates within critical approaches to
|Description: ||A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.|
|Appears in Collections:||PhD Theses (Social Sciences)|
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