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Keywords:

  • criminology;
  • criminal investigation;
  • criminal history;
  • investigation techniques;
  • criminal psychology;
  • blood;
  • precipitin;
  • superstition
  • Kriminologie;
  • Kriminalistik;
  • Kriminalgeschichte;
  • Kriminaltechnik;
  • Kriminalpsychologie;
  • Blut;
  • Präzipitin;
  • Aberglaube

Abstract

Traces of Blood. The Significance of Blood in Criminology at the Turn of the 19th Century. In late 19th and early 20th century, criminology became institutionalized as an independent branch of science. Methodologically it focused on the ‘exact’ methods of the natural sciences, but also it tried to integrate the methods of the humanities. This mix of methods becomes visible in the treatment of blood, which on the one hand was an object of then brand new methods of scientific analysis (identification of human blood by the biological or precipitin method), and on the other hand was analyzed as a product of the magic and superstitious mentalities of criminals. The methodical tension resulting from this epistemological cross-breeding did not disturb the criminologists, for whom the reconciliation of opposite ways of thinking and researching seemed to be possible. In this encyclopaedic analysis of blood early criminology tried to combine the anthropological exploration of vampirism with the chemical and microscopic detection of antibodies and haemoglobin, thus mirroring the positivistic optimism that was then prevalent.