The Expert Witnesses and Courtroom Discourse: Applying Micro and Macro Forms of Discourse Analysis to Study Process and the 'Doings of Doings' for Individuals and for Society

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The expert witness in legal proceedings has been constructed as a historically necessary part of modern legal proceedings in a society increasingly influenced by science and technology (Golan, 2004; Jasanoff, 1995; Jones, 1994), a much maligned figure accused of purveying 'junk science' or an individual acting as an ethically empty mercenary (Huber, 1993; Meyer, 1999). While much of the social action that constructs these various subjectifications is done outside of courtrooms, this article takes as its object verbal interaction in actual court proceedings that involve expert witnesses and their testimony. Data are taken from video (and thus also audio) recordings of expert witnesses 'on the stand', official court transcripts and interviews with expert witnesses. The data included here involve interactions between a lawyer and an expert witness in a trial popularly conceived as pitting 'intelligent design' (ID) against evolution. This expert witness is a molecular biologist and tenured associate professor in the biology department of a land-grant university in the USA, and in this trial, was testifying for the defense as a proponent of ID.1

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