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Deathwork: ethnographic materials on the social organization of the Coroner's Office Persky, Stan 1972

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DEATHWORK: E t h n o g r a p h i c M a t e r i a l s on the S o c i a l O r g a n i z a t i o n o f t h e Cor o n e r ' s O f f i c e by STAN PERSKY B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1969 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT IN THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department o f A n t h r o p o l o g y and S o c i o l o g y We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as co n f o r m i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA J u l y , 1972 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Brit ish Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Stan Persky Department of J^^Jj^opyD ^ S «P f>»i ^ J ^ ) The University of Brit ish Columbia Vancouver 8. Canada Date M( . ^ i i A b s t r a c t The p r i m a r y i n t e n t i o n o f Deathwork i s t o p r e s e n t some h e r e t o f o r e un-c o l l e c t e d m a t e r i a l s about p r a c t i c e s i n o u r s o c i e t y r e l a t i n g t o d e a t h , p a r -t i c u l a r l y as t h e y c e n t e r around the i n s t i t u t i o n known as t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f -f i c e . I n the c o u r s e o f my r e s e a r c h , I've a l s o g a t h e r e d m a t e r i a l s from doc-t o r s c o n c e r n i n g t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s i n v o l v i n g deathwork p r o c e d u r e s and some c o n v e r s a t i o n about t h e dead t h a t c o u l d e v e n t u a l l y be used f o r t h e s o c i o -l o g i c a l s t u d y o f bereavement i n our s o c i e t y . The b u l k o f t h i s p r e s e n t a t i o n , however, d i s p l a y s m a t e r i a l s c o l l e c t e d from a c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i n a l a r g e urban environment. They t a k e t h e form o f i n t e r v i e w s and r e c o r d e d sequences o f i n t e r a c t i o n s t h a t a r e p a r t o f t h e d a i l y b u s i n e s s o f d o i n g the work o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e . I i i a d d i t i o n t o p r e s e n t i n g t h e s e m a t e r i a l s I o f f e r some b r i e f d e s c r i p t i v e comments on t h e i r c h a r a c t e r - t o g e t h e r , t h e y com-p r i s e t h e p r e l i m i n a r i e s f o r an ethnography o r e t h n o l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s o f an i n s t i t u t i o n i n our s o c i e t y t h a t has r e c e i v e d l i t t l e s o c i o l o g i c a l a t t e n t i o n . I t i s not t h e i n t e n t i o n o f t h i s p r e s e n t a t i o n t o do t h e work o f an e t h -nography, however, t h i s r e p o r t p r o v i d e s t h e n e c e s s a r y p r e - c o n d i t i o n s f o r d o i n g such an e thnography. In a d d i t i o n , I f e l t c o m p e l l e d t o draw up a t h e o r e t i c a l program f o r what such an ethnography might l o o k l i k e i n t h e form o f a b r i e f r e v i e w o f the l i t e r a t u r e s u p p o r t i v e o f the p e r s p e c t i v e t h a t I t h i n k ought t o be a d o p t e d . I b e l i e v e t h a t the arguments p r e s e n t e d w i t h r e s p e c t t o ethnography s u g g e s t t h a t t h e m e t h o d o l o g i c a l q u e s t i o n s about e t h n o g r a p h i c a n a l y s i s are enough up i n the a i r a t t h e p r e s e n t time t h a t a d e f e n s e o f t h e p a r t i a l i t y o f t h i s p r e s e n t a t i o n i s n ' t r e q u i r e d . i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS P a r t 1 - On Ethnography Page S e c t i o n 1 2 S e c t i o n 2 29 ,^  . im-p a r t I I - M a t e r i a l s f o r an Ethnography o f the S o c i a l O r g a n i z a t i o n o f the Coroner's O f f i c e 1 1. C o r o n e r ' s F o r m u l a t i o n s 44 I n t e r v i e w w i t h the Coroner 1 67 2. L e g a l , S t a t i s t i c a l , Documentary and O b s e r v a t i o n -a l F o r m u l a t i o n s 82 C o r o n e r ' s A c t 98 C o r o n e r ' s Cases 1969 110 C o r o n e r ' s Cases 1970 112 C o r o n e r ' s Cases 1971 115 H i s t o r y o f t h e B e g i n n i n g o f the C o r o n e r1s Department and D u t i e s 118 V>>Vital S t a t i s t i c s A c t 122 '' V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s Report 125 3a. D o c t o r s ' D e c i s i o n s About S i g n i n g Death C e r t i f i c a t e s 126 I n t e r v i e w w i t h D o c t o r A. 138 3b. D o c t o r s ' D e c i s i o n s About S i g n i n g Death C e r t i f i c a t e s 149 I n t e r v i e w w i t h D o c t o r B. 165 4. The Morgue 178 I n t e r v i e w w i t h Morgue T e c h n i c i a n 200 5. I n q u e s t s and D e l i b e r a t i o n s 215 A. C o n v e r s a t i o n between a r e p o r t e r f o r t h e d a i l y p r e s s and t h e c o r o n e r ' s c o r p o r a l 216 B. C o n v e r s a t i o n between homicide d e t e c t i v e and c o r o n e r ' s c o r p o r a l 218 C. C o n v e r s a t i o n between w i t n e s s and c o r o n e r ' s c o r p o r a l p r i o r t o an i n q u e s t 219 Inquest Account 227 J u r y D e l i b e r a t i o n 237 6. G r i e f w o r k 268 Death A c c o u n t s : T r a n s c r i p t o f an i n t e r v i e w about V i n c e 281 TABLE OF CONTENTS (cont.) 7t. A f t e r w a r d 294 B i b l i o g r a p h y 303 V LIST OF FIGURES PART I I S e c t i o n 1 - Co r o n e r ' s F o r m u l a t i o n s Page E x h i b i t 1 - R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death 47 E x h i b i t 2 - Remains i n the Morgue 51 E x h i b i t 3 - Report o f INQUIRY as t o Cause o f Death 62 S e c t i o n 4 - The Morgue E x h i b i t l a - I d - Ambulance D r i v e r ' s Report 182 f f . E x h i b i t 2 - R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Body R e c e i v e d a t the Morgue 187 E x h i b i t 3 - Case R e g i s t r a t i o n 189 E x h i b i t 4a-4c - C o r o n e r ' s Department I n f o r m a t i o n Board 190 f f . E x h i b i t 5a-5b - P o l i c e I n v e s t i g a t i o n Report 196 f f . v i Acknowledgements and Anti-acknowledgements I w i s h t o acknowledge, w i t h t h a n k s , t h e h e l p I r e c e i v e d i n the p r e -p a r a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s . My p r i m a r y debt i s t o P r o f e s s o r Matthew S p e i e r , chairman o f my t h e s i s committee. H i s f r i e n d s h i p , the i n t e l l e c t u a l example o f h i s own work, and h i s d i r e c t p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the development o f t h e s e s t u d i e s made p o s s i b l e the c o m p l e t i o n o f t h i s r e p o r t . In o b t a i n i n g the m a t e r i a l s f o r t h i s t h e s i s , C o r o n e r G l e n McDonald o f Vancouver p e r m i t t e d complete r e s e a r c h a c c e s s t o the a c t i v i t i e s o f h i s de-p a r t m e n t , and s o l i c i t e d , on my b e h a l f , a s s i s t a n c e from h i s s t a f f . P e t e r Mason, o f the Vancouver P o l i c e Department, and C h i e f Morgue T e c h n i c i a n George Shoebotham were e x t r e m e l y generous w i t h t h e i r knowledge and t i m e ; w i t h o u t t h e i r i n v a l u a b l e a i d t h e r e s e a r c h work would have been i m p o s s i b l e . Other members o f the C o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , p a r t i c u l a r l y C p l . C h a r l e s Stewart o f the Vancouver P o l i c e Department, were c o n s i s t a n t l y h e l p f u l d u r i n g t h e l e n g t h y p e r i o d o f t h e r e s e a r c h and I'm most a p p r e c i a t e o f t h e i r a s s i s t -a nce. In d e v e l o p i n g a t h e o r e t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e I'm e s p e c i a l l y i n d e b t e d t o P r o f e s s o r Roy T u r n e r . The v a l u e o f h i s t e a c h i n g i s e x t e n s i v e l y documented i n the f i r s t p a r t o f t h i s t h e s i s . I a l s o w i s h t o acknowledge h i s c o n t r i b -u t i o n t o t h i s work i n the form o f f r e q u e n t and v a l u a b l e r e s e a r c h a n a l y s i s c o n f e r e n c e s and f i n a n c i a l s u p p o r t f o r the r e s e a r c h d u r i n g i t s e a r l y p e r i o d . I a l s o w i s h t o thank P r o f e s s o r s Ron S i l v e r s and Mike Kew, and Bruce K a t z , who were k i n d enough t o r e a d and d i s c u s s v a r i o u s p o r t i o n s o f t h i s t h e s i s w i t h me. I t i s a l s o n e c e s s a r y t o note o b s t a c l e s p l a c e d i n the way o f t h i s v i i p r o j e c t . The p o l i c i e s o f the a n t h r o p o l o g y and s o c i o l o g y departments o f U.B.C., i n s o f a r as t h e y have t o do w i t h M.A. gr a d u a t e s t u d e n t s , have been d e t r i m e n t a l . The demands f o r r a p i d c o m p l e t i o n o f t h e s i s work ( g i v i n g s c h o l a r l y p u r s u i t s t h e c h a r a c t e r o f a l i e n a t i n g f a c t o r y work) accompanied by o t h e r more s u b t l e p r e s s u r e s i n t h e m i d s t o f a t u r b u l e n t d e p a r t m e n t a l p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n has c r e a t e d a d i f f i c u l t m i l i e u f o r t h e s t u d e n t r a t h e r t h a n a c o n d i t i o n which f o s t e r s r e s e a r c h . P a r t I ON ETHNOGRAPHY 2. 1 I n f a l l , 1968, I was i n the o f f i c e o f Vancouver c o r o n e r , G l e n McDonald, l o o k i n g a t a R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death form on h i s d e s k . He was p o i n t i n g t o i t as he answered q u e s t i o n s I was a s k i n g him about h i s work. McDonald, a l a r g e , f l o r i d man, d e s c r i b e d by the p r e s s as ' c o l o r f u l ' , i s a l a w y e r , who had been a p p o i n t e d t o t h e o f f i c e o f c i t y c o r o n e r about 15 y e a r s p r e v i o u s l y . (1) H i s o f f i c e , crowded w i t h p e r s o n a l momentos - photographs on the w a l l , framed d e g r e e s , s o u v e n i r s , s t a t u e t t e s - and law b o o k s , i s l o c a t e d u p s t a i r s i n a 2 - s t o r y o r a n g e - b r i c k b u i l d i n g a t 240 E . C o r d o v a , b e h i n d t h e p o l i c e s t a t i o n (known o f f i c i a l l y and e u p h e m i s t i c a l l y as t h e Vancouver P u b l i c S a f e t y B u i l -d ing) on Main S t . , i n t h e S k i d Road d i s t r i c t o f t h e c i t y . The b u i l d i n g houses t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t s o f t h e C i t y A n a l y s t and the C o r o n e r . The c o r o n e r ' s p a r t o f t h e b u i l d i n g c o n t a i n s a s u i t e o f o f f i c e s - f o r h i m s e l f , h i s s e c r e -t a r y , h i s c o r p o r a l and t h e p a t h o l o g i s t ' s s e c r e t a r y - a courtroom where i n -q u e s t s a r e h e l d (and which i s a l s o used t o h a n d l e t h e s p i l l o v e r o f c ases from the P u b l i c S a f e t y B u i l d i n g ) , and a t the back o f t h e b u i l d i n g , t h e C i t y Morgue, which c o n s i s t s o f an o f f i c e where the morgue t e c h n i c i a n s a r e on d u t y , an autopsy room, and a l a r g e room o f c o l d s t o r a g e l o c k e r s i n which b o d i e s a r e k e p t . I had asked him under what c i r c u m s t a n c e s b o d i e s came t o h i s o f f i c e . " I n the main," McDonald answered, " i t would be c a s e s t h a t t h e a t t e n d i n g p h y s i c i a n i s u n a b l e , f o r a v a r i e t y o f r e a s o n s , t o s i g n the d e a t h c e r t i f i -c a t e . " He opened a m a n i l a f o l d e r c o n t a i n i n g t h e f i l e o f a completed c a s e , and p o i n t e d t o t h e t o p s h e e t , a R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death form i s s u e d by t h e P r o v i n c e o f B r i t i s h Columbia's Department o f H e a l t h S e r v i c e s and H o s p i t a l I n s u r a n c e , D i v i s i o n o f V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s . " I f you c a n ' t have a R e g i s t r a t i o n o f D e a t h , you cannot be i s s u e d w i t h a p e r m i t t o b u r y , c r e m a t e , o r remove, 3. a l l o w i n g you t o d i s p o s e o f t h e remains." H i s v o i c e d r i f t e d i n t o a c h a r a c t e r -i s t i c tone i t assumed when r a p i d l y r e a d i n g o f f l e g a l p h r a s e o l o g y from docu-ments, a sound I would become f a m i l i a r w i t h as I l i s t e n e d t o him conduct i n q u e s t s from the m a g i s t r a t e ' s bench. He began p o i n t i n g t o p a r t i c u l a r s o f t h e form i t s e l f as examplary o f h i s p r o f e s s i o n a l c o n c e r n s ; " I f y o u ' l l n o t i c e on t h e Death R e g i s t r a t i o n h e r e , s e c t i o n 25, 'was t h e r e an a u t o p s y ? ' . I f you go up t o s e c t i o n 23 y o u ' l l n o t i c e t h e approximate i n t e r v a l between o n s e t and d e a t h . Then, i f y o u ' l l go o v e r t o y o u r l e f t - h a n d s i d e y o u ' l l see 'the d i s e a s e o r c o n d i t i o n d i r e c t l y l e a d i n g t o d e a t h ' . And the a n t e c e d a n t c a u s e s . Now you've g o t t o have t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n b e f o r e V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s w i l l a c c e p t t h e R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death and t h e n g i v e you a p e r m i t t o b u r y o r cremate." A t t h e moment, I d i d n ' t r e a l i z e t h a t t h e c h a r a c t e r o f the c o r o n e r ' s t a l k was p r o v i d i n g me w i t h an i m p o r t a n t e t h n o g r a p h i c c l u e about how mem^: b e r s o f an e s t a b l i s h m e n t o r i e n t t o t h e i r t a s k s . The c o r o n e r i m m e d i a t e l y began p r e s e n t i n g h i s e x p l a n a t i o n o f what t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e d i d i n terms o f the "demand c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s " os h i s work ( e . g . , " i f the a t t e n d i n g p h y s i c i a n i s u n a b l e , f o r a v a r i e t y o f r e a s o n s , t o s i g n t he d e a t h c e r t i f i -c a t e " t h e n t h e c o r o n e r has a c o r p s e t o be d i s p o s e d o f ; i f you don't have c e r t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n you c a n ' t f i l l o u t the Death C e r t i f i c a t e ; " i f you c a n ' t have a R e g i s t r a t i o n o f D e a t h , you cannot be i s s u e d w i t h a p e r m i t " t o d i s p o s e o f the body, e t c . ) and t h e s e demands were a p p a r e n t l y o c c a s i o n -ed by a network o f o r g a n i z a t i o n a l i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p s . That i s , how bo-d i e s a r r i v e d a t t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e had something t o do w i t h t h e p r a c -t i c e s o f p h y s i c i a n s , how adequate i n f o r m a t i o n was g a t h e r e d f o r a R e g i s -t r a t i o n o f Death form i n v o l v e d a v a r i e t y o f o r g a n i z a t i o n s ( e . g . , p o l i c e , S o c i a l I n s u r a n c e , h o s p i t a l s , V e t e r a n s ' a d m i n i s t r a t i o n s ) , and how and 4. when a body was r e l e a s e d f o r b u r i a l was dependent on d e c i s i o n s by o t h e r a-g e n c i e s l i k e V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s and f u n e r a l p a r l o r s . The r a t i o n a l e and p r o c e -dures o f a l l t h e s e i n t e r - r e l a t e d o r g a n i z a t i o n s , as w e l l as t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i t s e l f , were o b s c u r e t o me. While I c o u l d i n f e r t h a t a l l o f t h e s e t h i n g s were done i n an a ccordance w i t h an i m p l i c i t l o g i c o r m e t a p h y s i c s t h a t was a m a t t e r o f s o c i a l l y s h a r e d knowledge i n our s o c i e t y , t h e c o r o n -e r , i n a c t u a l l y e x p l a i n i n g what he d i d , from the o u t s e t , spoke from a work p e r s p e c t i v e . I f I h a r b o r e d any i l l u s i o n s t h a t t h e work o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e had t o do w i t h p h i l o s o p h i c a l d i s c u s s i o n s o f t h e meaning o f d e a t h , t h e s e were q u i c k l y d i s p e l l e d by the p a r t i c u l a r i t y o f a form w i t h b l a n k spaces t h a t had t o be f i l l e d i n . S i m i l a r l y , t h e t a l k t h a t a c t u a l l y t a k e s p l a c e between members o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s s t a f f d u r i n g t h e c o u r s e o f work would have the c h a r a c t e r o f , 'you f o r g o t t o f i l l o u t s e c t i o n 24' r a t h e r t h a n ' i t would be a s e r v i c e t o t h e p u b l i c i f we e x p l a i n e d how Mr. X d i e d ' . I t would be my t a s k , d u r i n g t h e c o u r s e o f s p o r a d i c r e s e a r c h p e r i o d s o v e r the next t h r e e y e a r s , t o see how the t h i n g s s a i d and done i n the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , i n f a c t , added up t o the c o m p l e t i o n o f a p a r t i c u l a r R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death form. An a c c o u n t o f how I came t o be i n t e r v i e w i n g the Vancouver c o r o n e r i n l a t e 1968 w i l l s e r v e t o s u g g e s t some e t h n o g r a p h i c g o a l s and a t h e o r e t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e t h r o u g h which an ethnography c o u l d be a c c o m p l i s h e d . E a r l y i n the autumn o f t h a t y e a r , I a t t e n d e d a s e r i e s o f l e c t u r e - d i s -c u s s i o n s g i v e n by Roy T u r n e r a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia as an i n t r o d u c t i o n t o s o c i o l o g i c a l t h e o r y . T u r n e r d i r e c t e d o u r a t t e n t i o n t o E m i l e Durkheim's s o c i o l o g i c a l c l a s s i c , S u i c i d e . (2) Durkheim's "work on s u i c i d e remains the p r o t o t y p e o f s y s t e m a t i c , r i g o r o u s and u n r e l e n t i n g a t t a c k on t h e s u b j e c t w i t h t h e d a t a , t e c h n i q u e s and accumulated knowledge 5. a v a i l a b l e a t any g i v e n p e r i o d , " the book's modern e d i t o r d e c l a r e s . (3) "Indeed, S u i c i d e i s among t h e v e r y f i r s t modern examples o f c o n s i s t a n t and o r g a n i z e d use o f s t a t i s t i c a l method i n s o c i a l i n v e s t i g a t i o n , " he c o n t i n u e s , g i v i n g t h e work i t s h i s t o r i c a l p l a c e . I n S u i c i d e , Durkheim, as i s well-known, p r o p o s e d t o examine o r ex-p l a i n t h e phenomenon o f s u i c i d e . He f i r s t t u r n e d h i s a t t e n t i o n t o what he c a l l e d ' e x t r a - s o c i a l c a u s e s ' and went on t o c l a i m he had demonstrated t h a t s u i c i d e was " e x p l a i n e d n e i t h e r by t h e o r g a n i c - p h y s i c c o n s t i t u t i o n o f i n d i v -i d u a l s nor the n a t u r e o f t h e p h y s i c a l environment." (4) T h i s l e d Durkheim t o propose s o c i a l causes as t h e e x p l a n a t i o n o f s u i c i d e , o r more l i t e r a l l y , t o c l a i m t h a t c a u s a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s e x i s t e d between s u i c i d e r a t e s and o t h -e r s o c i a l c a t e g o r i e s such as r e l i g i o n , e d u c a t i o n , s e x , m a r i t a l s t a t u s , e t c . In t h e f i n a l c h a p t e r s o f S u i c i d e , b u i l d i n g upon h i s m a t e r i a l s , Durk-heim o f f e r s some g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s about s o c i a l r e a l i t y , and, w i t h r e s p e c t t o ' p r a c t i c a l c o n sequences', some r e m e d i a l remarks. As a s t u d e n t , I got the i m p r e s s i o n t h a t Durkheim's ' f i n d i n g s ' , w i t h some q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , s t o o d , and f u r t h e r , g i v e n t h e book's s t a t u s as a c l a s s i c w i t h i n the f i e l d , S u i c i d e had h i s t o r i c a l l y shaped subsequent r e s e a r c h i n t h i s a r e a , and c o n t i n u e d t o recommend i t s e l f as a g e n e r a l method f o r a t t a c k i n g s o c i o l o g i c a l 'problems'. V a r i o u s i n t r o d u c t o r y remarks i n t h e most r e c e n t E n g l i s h e d i t i o n o f S u i c i d e seemed, as a contemporary and r a t h e r o r t h o d o x v i e w , t o c o n f i r m t h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g . George Simpson w r i t e s , " S i n c e Durkheim's work on s u i c -i d e , t h e c h i e f advances i n our knowledge o f the s u b j e c t have come from a c t u a r i a l s t a t i s t i c s and p s y c h o a n a l y t i c p s y c h i a t r y . " Simpson g i v e s the im-p r e s s i o n t h a t what remained t o be done a f t e r Durkheim's st u d y was m e r e l y t o e l a b o r a t e w i t h r i g o r t h e a r e a s t h a t Durkheim had c a r v e d o u t . F o r Simpson the problems have t o do w i t h such t h i n g s as t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f a c t u a r i a l 6. r i g o r , and i n t h e p r e s e n c e o f a c c u r a c y , t h e l i m i t a t i o n s o f such s t a t i s t i c s . So, a f t e r p o i n t i n g t o 'sound a c t u a r i a l compendiums' on t h i s s u b j e c t , Simp-son goes on t o quote t h e p s y c h i a t r i s t Z i l b o o r g on the inadequacy o f s u i c i d e s t a t i s t i c s : " . . . S t a t i s t i c a l d a t a on s u i c i d e as t h e y a r e c o m p i l e d today de-se r v e l i t t l e i f any c r e d e n c e ; i t has been r e p e a t e d l y p o i n t e d o u t by s c i e n -t i f i c s t u d e n t s o f the problem t h a t s u i c i d e cannot be s u b j e c t t o s t a t i s t i -c a l e v a l u a t i o n , s i n c e a l l t o o many s u i c i d e s a r e not r e p o r t e d as s u c h . Those who k i l l t h e m selves t h r o u g h a u t o m o b i l e a c c i d e n t s a r e almost never r e -co r d e d as s u i c i d e s . . . " e t c . (5) Not o n l y i s t h e r e doubt about t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f s t a t i s t i c a l r i g o r , but t h e r e i s t h e q u e s t i o n o f what uses s t a t i s t i c s can be p u t t o . H e r e , Simpson recommends t o us developments i n p s y c h i a t r i c t h e o r y . "The a c t u a r i -a l i s t s , " Simpson p o i n t s o u t , "have f o r m u l a t e d no t h o r o u g h - g o i n g , c o n s i s t e n t and s y s t e m a t i c h y p o t h e s i s c o n c e r n i n g t h e causes o f s u i c i d e . . . f o r t h e i r i n t e r p r e t i v e framework, (they) have had t o f a l l back upon modern d e v e l o p -ments i n p s y c h i a t r y and mental h y g i e n e . " (6) Simpson s t i c k s t o h i s guns about the d i r e c t i o n s open f o r r e s e a r c h : " I t appears i n e s c a p a b l e t o s t a t e t h a t u n t i l we have b e t t e r r e c o r d s and more l i t e r a t e s t a t i s t i c a l c l a s s i f i -c a t i o n i n terms o f p s y c h i a t r i c n o m e n c l a t u r e , we can draw few b i n d i n g con-c l u s i o n s c o n c e r n i n g r e g u l a r i t y i n terms o f age, e t h n i c g r o u p s , s o c i a l s t a t u s , e t c . " (7) Simpson, c i t i n g Z i l b o o r g a g a i n , g i v e s us a c l e a r view o f the ' s c i e n -t i f i c ' p e r s p e c t i v e on t h i s 'problem'. " Z i l b o o r g w r i t e s : ' . . . I t i s c l e a r t h a t t h e problem o f s u i c i d e from the s c i e n t i f i c p o i n t o f view remains un-s o l v e d . N e i t h e r common sense nor c l i n i c a l p s y c h o p a t h o l o g y has found a c a u s a l o r even a s t r i c t e m p i r i c a l s o l u t i o n ' . " (8) F u r t h e r , Simpson d i s -m i s s es s p e c u l a t i v e thought as a s c i e n t i f i c a p p r o a c h . He w r i t e s , "...we must n e g l e c t t h e h o r t a t o r y and s p e c u l a t i v e views on s u i c i d e e x p r e s s e d 7. by some p h i l o s o p h e r s . N e i t h e r W i l l i a m James i n h i s e s s a y 'Is L i f e Worth L i v i n g ? * w i t h h i s c a l l t o v i t a l e x i s t e n c e , n o r Immanuel Kant i n h i s e t h i -c a l t r e a t i s e s w i t h h i s r a t h e r p r u d i s h view t h a t s u i c i d e i s a v i o l a t i o n o f th e moral l a w , can come t o terms w i t h modern s c i e n t i f i c d a t a . " One s u s p e c t s t h a t Simpson i s k n o c k i n g down a straw man. That i s , he appears t o assume the p h i l o s o p h i c t a s k has some ' s c i e n t i f i c ' i n t e n t i o n . Be t h a t as i t may, Simpson's passage i s v a l u a b l e f o r he r e v e a l s h i s c o n c e p t i o n o f t h e s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t ' s aim: "Nor does t h e de f e n s e by D a v i d Hume o f the i n d i v i d u a l ' s r i g h t t o commit s u i c i d e , nor the s u i c i d e ' s harmony w i t h t h e d e n i a l o f the w i l l t o l i v e as i n Schopenhauer, advance our s c i e n t i f i c u n d e r s t a n d i n g . To announce t h a t human b e i n g s have a s o c i a l o r p h i l o s o p h i c a l r i g h t t o commit s u i c i d e does n o t t e l l us why t h e y do s o . And u n t i l we know why t h e y do s o , we may condemn i t as do James and K a n t , o r defe n d i t as do Hume and Schop-enhauer, b u t we cannot c o n t r o l i t . " (9) F i n a l l y , Simpson p r o p o s e d , "The b a s i c problem f o r s o c i a l r e s e a r c h must be t o i n t e r r e l a t e t h e l i f e - h i s t o r i e s o f i n d i v i d u a l s u i c i d e s and a t -tempted s u i c i d e s w i t h s o c i o l o g i c a l v a r i a b l e s , on t h e h y p o t h e s i s t h a t c e r -t a i n s o c i a l environments may (a) in d u c e o r (b) p e r p e t u a t e o r (c) a g g r a v a t e the s u i c i d e - p o t e n t i a l . I f we can c o r r e l a t e f o r masses o f d a t a , s u i c i d e o r attempted s u i c i d e s w i t h t h e i r h a v i n g been i n d u c e d , p e r p e t u a t e d o r aggrav-a t e d by c e r t a i n s o c i a l e n v i r o n m e n t s , t h e n we a r e i n a p o s i t i o n t o estab--l i s h laws o f g e n e r a l i z e d o c c u r r e n c e . " (10) The r e a s o n s f o r my h a v i n g r e -viewed e x t e n s i v e l y t h i s i t e m o f the l i t e r a t u r e , which T u r n e r , i n h i s t a l k s on s o c i o l o g i c a l t h e o r y , p r e s e n t e d t o us f o r s t u d y , w i l l , I hope, be-come momentarily c l e a r . Toward a l l o f t h i s m a t e r i a l T u r n e r adopted a s u r p r i s i n g s t a n c e . F a r from recommending Durkheim as a model, T u r n e r s u b j e c t e d S u i c i d e t o a s e r i e s o f h e r e t i c a l q u e s t i o n s . 8. I n s t e a d o f b e g i n n i n g , as Durkheim d o e s , w i t h assembled s u i c i d e s t a t i s -t i c s and p r o c e e d i n g t o l o c a t e ' v a r i a b l e s ' t h a t might be r e l a t e d t o t h e s e s t a t i s t i c s , what i f one were t o t r e a t s u i c i d e as e t h n o g r a p h e r s have t r a d i t i -o n a l l y t r e a t e d a c t i v i t i e s o f o t h e r c u l t u r e s ? T h a t i s , i n s t e a d o f t r e a t i n g s u i c i d e as something s u f f i c i e n t l y known about as an a c t i v i t y , we make the whole m a t t e r p r o b l e m a t i c by a s k i n g , What must a member o f our s o c i e t y l i t -e r a l l y do i n terms o f methods and p r o c e d u r e s t o a c c o m p l i s h an a c t i v i t y t h a t comes t o be known as ' s u i c i d e ' - I m mediately, something p o t e n t i a l l y i n -t e r e s t i n g p r e s e n t s i t s e l f . We f i n d , f o r c e r t a i n a c t i v i t i e s , t h a t t h e y a r e knowable and d e s c r i b a b l e by v i r t u e o f t h e i r b e i n g a c c e s s i b l e t o o b s e r v a t i o n , t o p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e , t o a c c o u n t s b e i n g p r o v i d e d by t h o s e who have accom-p l i s h e d such a c t i v i t i e s . I t t u r n s o u t , o f c o u r s e , t h a t s u i c i d e i n our so-c i e t y i s r a r e l y o b s e r v a b l e and t h a t s u i c i d e d o e s n ' t p r o v i d e i n f o r m a n t s . R a t her t h a n moral o r c a u s a l r e s e a r c h , we a r e d i r e c t e d t o an i s s u e i n s o c i a l e p i s t e m o l o g y . How i s i t , t h a t upon the d i s c o v e r y o f some p a r t i c u l a r c o r p s e , an ' i n v e s t i g a t i o n ' may be u n d e r t a k e n such t h a t i t s outcome i s t o l a b e l t h a t c o r p s e a ' s u i c i d e ' ? What methods do members o f o u r s o c i e t y use t o 'recon-s t r u c t ' s o c i a l scenes? How a r e c e r t a i n members o f our s o c i e t y t r a i n e d t o do j u s t e x a c t l y such r e c o n s t r u c t i o n s ? What a r e t h e f e a t u r e s o f a g i v e n s i t u a t i -on t h a t a l l o w s a p o l i c e m a n , s a y , t o announce i m m e d i a t e l y , ' I t ' s a s u i c i d e ' ? Such a p e r s p e c t i v e i m m e d i a t e l y r e l a t e s m a t t e r s o f i n t e n t i o n , m o t i v e s , s t a t e s o f mind to,"a l i t e r a l s e t o f o b j e c t s and a c t i v i t i e s . In p r o p o s i n g such an e t h n o g r a p h i c a p p r o a c h , one i s not n e c e s s a r i l y d e r o g a t i n g the work o f Durkheim, but s u g g e s t i n g an o r d e r o f d e s c r i p t i v e p r i o r i t i e s , o r a t l e a s t p o s s i b i l i t i e s , and the i s s u e i s not m e r e l y t h e o r -e t i c a l g i v e n t h a t , f o r whatever r e a s o n , such a s e t o f d e s c r i p t i v e mater-i a l s have not h i t h e r t o been p r o v i d e d . The one a l t e r n a t i v e l i n e t h a t d i d d e v e l o p i n s o c i o l o g y , t h e c o l l e c t i o n o f c a s e h i s t o r i e s , was a g a i n i n s e r -9. i c e t o t he development o f p s y c h o l o g i c a l and s o c i a l v a r i a b l e s . A l i t e r a l i s t v i e w p o i n t , such as I'm d e s c r i b i n g t e nds t o t r a n s f o r m , s a y , Z i l b o o r g ' s r e -mark - "those who k i l l t h emselves t h r o u g h a u t o m o b i l e a c c i d e n t s a r e almost never r e c o r d e d as s u i c i d e s . . . " - from t h e statement o f a problem i n o b t a i n -i n g a c c u r a t e s t a t i s t i c s t o a p i e c e o f d a t a i t s e l f , by p r o p o s i n g t h a t we f i n d members o f o u r s o c i e t y a r e a b l e t o and do c l a i m t h a t t h e c h a r a c t e r o f c e r t a i n e v e n t s go u n d e t e c t e d and a r e y e t g e n e r a l l y known a b o u t . (That i s , a l t h o u g h p e r s o n s do k i l l t hemselves t h r o u g h a u t o m o b i l e ' a c c i d e n t s ' and a r e seldom o f f i c i a l l y r e c o r d e d as s u i c i d e s , we 'know/,,, n e v e r t h e l e s s , t h a t some o f them a r e s u i c i d e s . ) We can a s k , how i s i t p o s s i b l e f o r members t o have knowledge o f what c e r t a i n e v e n t s a r e r e a l l y a b o u t , even though t h e y come t o be l a b e l l e d as something e l s e , e.g., an event t h a t i s ' r e a l l y V a ' s u i c i d e ' comes t o be c a l l e d an 'automobile a c c i d e n t ' . Now we a r e t a l k i n g about methods members employ t o make the c h a r a c t e r o f eve n t s v i s i b l e o r u n d e t e c t a b l e ; t h a t i s , perhaps we are l o o k i n g a t t h e s u b j e c t o f ' c o n c e a l -ment p r a c t i c e s ' . So, i f one were t o s e t t h i s up as a r u l e f o r concealment o f t h e k i n d o f d e a t h i t was, we might have: one method f o r c o n c e a l i n g a s u i c i d e i s t o make i t l o o k l i k e an a u t o m o b i l e a c c i d e n t . And i t may t u r n out t h a t t h e s e t h i n g s a r e not a t a l l m a t t e r s o f whim o r c o - i n c i d e n c e , b u t may be methods r e g u l a r l y employed by members who have some v e r y p r a c t i c a l consequences i n mind, f o r example, i n s u r a n c e b e n e f i t s may not be p a i d t o s u r v i v i n g k i n i f t h e de a t h was a s u i c i d e . T h i s may be e x a c t l y t h e problem f a c e d by a member who wants t o commit s u i c i d e and y e t p r o v i d e f o r h i s fam-i l y , and such methods may be employed t o s o l v e t h a t p r o b l e m . These were t he s o r t s o f c o n s i d e r a t i o n s t h a t T u r n e r , by h i s q u e s t i o n -i n g , encouraged us t o e x p l o r e . F o r me, t h e e f f e c t o f T u r n e r ' s s u g g e s t i o n s were e x p l o s i v e , i n t h a t , s u d d e n l y , a w e a l t h o f m a t e r i a l s were r e n d e r e d a v a i l a b l e f o r s t u d y . The c a s u a l remarks above suggest programs t h e m s e l v e s , 10. f o r such t h i n g s as an ethnography o f s u i c i d e , o r even an ethnography o f concealment p r a c t i c e s o f which the concealment o f s u i c i d e might be a p a r t . One t h i n g t h a t p u z z l e d me was why wasn't ethnography done i n o u r own s o c i -e t y as a s s i d u o u s l y as i t was p r a c t i c e d by a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s s t u d y i n g o t h e r s o c i e t i e s ? T u r n e r p o i n t e d o u t t h a t the g o a l s o f c o n v e n t i o n a l s o c i o l o g y , as i t had h i s t o r i c a l l y d e v e l o p e d from Durkheim's work, ought not t o be seen as ' n a t u r a l f a c t s ' o f t h e a c t i v i t y b u t as 'assumptions' made by s o c i o l o g i s t s . T hat i s , i f the s o c i o l o g i s t d e f i n e s h i s 'problems' f o r r e s e a r c h as thefse t h i n g s which are c a l l e d ' s o c i a l p r o b l e m s ' t h i s ought t o be seen as a p r a c -t i c i o n e r ' s d e c i s i o n t h a t has a f f e c t e d t h e d i s c i p l i n e h i s t o r i c a l l y , b u t , a l l the same, i s not a ' n a t u r a l l y ' p r e s c r i b e d p r o c e d u r e f o r s o c i a l s t u d y . P e r -haps i t has been the case t h a t 'problems' have a l l t o o o f t e n been'taken f o r g r a n t e d and c o n s e q u e n t l y , t h e g o a l s o f such r e s e a r c h go u n q u e s t i o n e d . T u r n e r i n v i t e d us t o abandon, m o m e n t a r i l y , o u r c o n v e n t i o n a l view o f such a c c e p t e d g o a l s a s , t h e s e a r c h f o r 'causes* o f s u i c i d e whether ' s o c i a l ' o r ' p s y c h o l o g i c a l ' , the n o t i o n t h a t t h e 'problem' o f s u i c i d e needs t o be •solved' from a ' s c i e n t i f i c p o i n t o f v i e w ' , the i d e a t h a t s o c i o l o g y ' s aim i s t o remedy' a s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n o r somehow d e v e l o p t o o l s by which s u i c i d e may be ' p r e d i c t e d and c o n t r o l l e d * . Toward t h e s e n o t i o n s , we were asked t o suspend o u r n o t i o n o f ' w e l l , n a t u r a l l y , t h i s i s what s o c i o l o g y i s about' and t o adopt a q u i z z i c a l a t t i t u d e . I n d o i n g so we were l e d t o l o o k a r o u n d . / A n t h r o p o l o g i s t s have gone t o o t h e r s o c i e t i e s and d e s c r i b e d t h e i r p r a c t i c -es i n g r e a t d e t a i l w i t h o u t e v e r assuming t h a t the r e s e a r c h t a s k was t o 'remedy' the a c t i v i t i e s o f t h a t s o c i e t y . L i n g u i s t s i n v e s t i g a t e the s t r u c -t u r a l p r o p e r t i e s o f our language w i t h o u t assuming t h a t i t i s t h e i r j o b t o make b e t t e r s p e a k e r s o f u s , o r t o t e a c h us t o be p o e t s . The e f f e c t o f T u r n e r ' s i n q u i r y , f o r me, was t o see t h a t w h i l e , h i s t o r i c a l l y , s o c i o l o g y has adopted a ' r e m e d i a l ' program (and t h a t such a p e r s p e c t i v e no doubt shaped t h e m a t e r i a l s sought fori)', t h a t one wasn't c o n s t r a i n e d by some l o -g i c t o do l i k e w i s e i n c o n d u c t i n g r e s e a r c h . O b v i o u s l y , i t i s n ' t j u s t a m a t t e r o f i n t e l l e c t u a l o v e r s i g h t t h a t we do e t h n o g r a p h i e s o f , s a y , T r o b r i a n d I s l a n d d e a t h p r a c t i c e s , and t h a t we don't do t h a t s o r t o f study amongst o u r s e l v e s . Perhaps i t ' s t h e c a s e t h a t we assume t h a t t h e s e a c t i v i t i e s t a k i n g p l a c e w i t h i n our s o c i e t y are a l -r e a d y , i n some s e n s e , s u f f i c i e n t l y known about as a m a t t e r o f s h a r e d knowledge. C o n v e r s a t i o n s I had w i t h o t h e r s o c i o l o g i s t s a t the t i m e l e f t me w i t h t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t they r e g a r d e d the p o s s i b l e f i n d i n g s o f such work as somehow ' o b v i o u s ' . That i s , w h i l e we would r e a d i l y admit t h a t t h e r e i s a r e a l m o f ' t e c h n i c a l '--knowledge a v a i l a b l e s o l e l y t o p r a c t i t i o n -e r s , we would e q u a l l y want t o i n s i s t t h a t we know what a ' c o r o n e r ' i s , what happens a t an ' i n q u e s t1, what i s meant by an ' a c c i d e n t ' . L e t me make c l e a r , t h a t w h i l e I b e l i e v e w i d e r t h e o r e t i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s a r e a v a i l a b l e , I'm i n t e r e s t e d i n no more, a t t h i s p o i n t , t h a n r e c o r d i n g t h a t I became persuaded t h a t t h e ethnography o f a c t i v i t i e s i n o u r s o c i e t y was b o t h a p r a c t i c a l and p o t e n t i a l l y r e w a r d i n g p o s s i b i l i t y . The o p e n i n g pages o f Durkheim's S u i c i d e l e d d i r e c t l y t o p r a c t i c a l consequences f o r me. Durkheim b e g i n s , i t w i l l be r e c a l l e d , w i t h some l i n g u i s t i c c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . " S i n c e the word ' s u i c i d e ' r e c u r s c o n s t a n t l y i n ' t h e c o u r s e o f c o n v e r s a t i o n , " he w r i t e s , " i t might be thought t h a t i t s sense i s u n i v e r s a l l y known and t h a t d e f i n i t i o n i s s u p e r f l u o u s . " (11) Durkheim h a s t e n s t o p o i n t out t h a t t h i s i s n o t t h e c a s e . " A c t u a l l y , t h e words o f everyday l a n g u a g e , l i k e t h e c o n c e p t s t h e y e x p r e s s , a r e always s u s c e p t i b l e o f more t h a n one meaning..." The s c h o l a r i s warned t o be c a r e f u l o f o r d i n a r y d e f i n i t i o n s . "Not o n l y i s t h e i r meaning so i n d e f i n -i t e as t o v a r y , from c a s e t o c a s e , w i t h t h e needs o f argument, b u t , as 12. the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n from which t h e y d e r i v e i s not a n a l y t i c , b u t m e r e l y t r a n s l a t e s t h e c o n f u s e d i m p r e s s i o n s o f the crowd..." e t c . (12) T u r n e r , a t t h i s p o i n t , i n d i c a t e d t h e d i r e c t i o n i n which Durkheim's argument was headed. Somehow, we're t o see t h a t the way i n which ' s u i c i d e ' i s used i n everyday t a l k i s f a u l t y , as though o r d i n a r y c o n v e r s a t i o n were a ' p r o t o -s c i e n c e ' s t r i v i n g t o b e , i f i t c o u l d , more a c c u r a t e . The s u g g e s t i o n i m p l i c -i t i n t h i s view i s t h a t such t a l k needs remedy. The p o s s i b i l i t y o f i n v e s -t i g a t i n g o r d i n a r y usage as s o c i a l p r o d u c t i o n s i n themselves i s i g n o r e d . Durkheim t h e n p r o p o s e s a remedy, "...the s c h o l a r cannot t a k e as t h e sub-j e c t o f h i s r e s e a r c h r o u g h l y assembled groups o f f a c t s c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o words o f common usage." (13,) I r o n i c a l l y , i n my i n t e r v i e w w i t h t h e c o r o n -e r , he d e s c r i b e d t h e j u r y ' s t a s k , when f a c e d w i t h an u n n a t u r a l d e a t h , as b e i n g t o " c l a s s i f y i t as b e i n g a c c i d e n t , s u i c i d e o r h o m i c i d e , b r i n g i n g t o t h o s e words the everyday meanings which you and I use i n our c o n v e r s a t i o n . " (14) Durkheim c o n t i n u e s t h a t the s c h o l a r " h i m s e l f must e s t a b l i s h t h e group he w i s h e s t o study i n o r d e r t o g i v e them t h e homogeneity and t h e s p e c i f i c meaning n e c e s s a r y f o r them t o be s u s c e p t i b l e o f s c i e n t i f i c t r e a t m e n t . " (15) Though Durkheim w i l l c l a i m s t a t u s f o r h i s f o r t h c o m i n g d e f i n i t i o n as ' s c i e n t i f i c1, c o n t r a s t i n g i t f a v o r a b l y w i t h t h e ' i m p r e c i s e ' commonsense usages o f the t e r m , he b e l i e v e s t h a t the s c i e n t i s t ' s t a s k i s more than c o r r e c t i o n o f o r d i n a r y u s a g e . "The e s s e n t i a l t h i n g i s not t o e x p r e s s w i t h some p r e c i s i o n what t h e average i n t e l l i g e n c e terms s u i c i d e , b u t t o e s t a b l i s h a c a t e g o r y o f o b j e c t s p e r m i t t i n g t h i s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , which a r e o b j e c t i v e l y e s t a b l i s h e d . . . " (16) Durkheim i m p l i e s t h e r e i s a r e a l i t y which must be ' s c i e n t i f i c a l l y ' d e l i n e a t e d by s o c i o l o g i s t s . From such an argument, a c o n v e n t i o n a l way o f p r o c e e d i n g i n s o c i o l o g y , s a y , w i t h a c l a s s o f d e a ths such as s u i c i d e , i s t o t h e o r e t i c a l l y con-s t r u c t some d e f i n i t i o n o f t h e c l a s s . Durkheim, i n d e e d , p r o p o s e s such a 13. d e f i n i t i o n : "We may t h e n say c o n c l u s i v e l y : the term s u i c i d e i s a p p l i e d t o  a l l c a s e s o f d e a t h r e s u l t i n g d i r e c t l y o r i n d i r e c t l y from a_ p o s i t i v e o r neg- a t i v e a c t o f t h e v i c t i m h i m s e l f , which he knows w i l l p roduce t h i s r e s u l t . " (17) I ' l l l e a v e a s i d e the semantic d i f f i c u l t i e s i n h e r e n t i n the d e f i n i t i o n i t s e l f . Durkheim seems t o be s a y i n g t h a t the w o r l d i s a messy p l a c e , f u l l o f competing d e f i n i t i o n s o f what t h i n g s mean, and t h a t t h e s o c i o l o g i s t , by h i s methods, must t r a n s c e n d t h i s . But i n f a c t , t h i s i s not t h e way t h e s i t u a t i o n p r e s e n t s i t s e l f t o the r e s e a r c h e r . He comes t o f i n d t h a t t h e r e e x i s t s , i n f a c t , a group o f c a s e s known as ' s u i c i d e s ' , d e t e r m i n e d by v a -r i o u s c o r o n e r s ' o f f i c e s , and from the p o i n t o f view o f the c o r o n e r , t h e ' s c i e n t i f i c ' d e f i n i t i o n i s s i m p l y a n o t h e r among competing d e f i n i t i o n s . Such a d e f i n i t i o n as Durkheim's, T u r n e r c l a i m e d , p roposes a p u t a t i v e  p o p u l a t i o n , i n t h a t any p e r s o n who p e r f o r m s t h e a c t i o n s s t i p u l a t e d by the d e f i n i t i o n would come t o be counted as one o f a p o p u l a t i o n o f s u i c i d e s . T h i s p u t a t i v e p o p u l a t i o n may not i n c l u d e a c t u a l c a s e s d e c i d e d , c l a s s i f i e d , and c o n s e q u e n t i a l l y t r e a t e d as ' s u i c i d e ' by c o r o n e r s . Would we t h e n say t h a t the l a t t e r weren't ' r e a l l y ' s u i c i d e s ? C o n t r a s t i v e t o t h i s , i n t h e a c t u a l w o r l d , t h e r e i s an o c c a s i o n e d p o p u l a t i o n o f s u i c i d e s , and we can l o o k t o t h e p r a c t i c e s o f the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , i n i n s t a n c e d c a s e s , t o see how t h a t p o p u l a t i o n i s p r o d u c e d . I t was a t t h i s p o i n t i n T u r n e r ' s c r i t i q u e t h a t I suggested t h a t p e r -haps we ought t o , i n d e e d , l o o k ' t o t h e p r a c t i c e s o f the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , t h u s c a r r y i n g o u t t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s o f o u r d i s c u s s i o n , and I o f f e r e d t o v i s i t t h e Vancouver c o r o n e r . When I went t o i n t e r v i e w t h e c o r o n e r , t h e r e was one work i n the l i t -e r a t u r e t h a t I had i n mind which was o f c e n t r a l importance t o me. A l t h o u g h T u r n e r ' s t r e a t m e n t o f Durkheim was i n many ways o r i g i n a l , t h e r e were p r e -14. c e d e n t s f o r such an a t t a c k . T u r n e r h i m s e l f was wor k i n g from D a v i d Sudnow's P a s s i n g On, The S o c i a l O r g a n i z a t i o n o f D y i n g . (18) P a s s i n g On i s an ethnog-r a p h y , one t h a t i s l i t e r a l l y r a r e i n s o c i o l o g i c a l w r i t i n g . Sudnow sought " t o d e p i c t t h e h e r e t o f o r e u n d e s c r i b e d s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n o f 'death work' and t o do so from t h e p e r s p e c t i v e o f t h o s e p e r s o n s i n our s o c i e t y i n t i m -a t e l y i n v o l v e d , as a m a t t e r o f d a i l y o c c u p a t i o n a l l i f e , i n c a r i n g f o r t h e 'd y i n g ' and t h e 'dead'...", i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , members o f a h o s p i t a l s t a f f . (19) S i m i l a r l y , I d e c i d e d t o add t o t h e new o n c e - d e s c r i b e d s o c i a l o r g a n i z -a t i o n o f 'death work' and a l s o t o do so from t h e v i e w p o i n t o f p e o p l e who a r e r o u t i n e l y engaged i n d e a l i n g w i t h t h e de a d , i n t h i s c a s e , members o f a c o r o n e r ' s s t a f f . As Sudnow p o i n t s o u t , "death i s a major t o p i c o f c o n c e r n among a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s , p h y s i c i a n s , p s y c h i a t r i s t s , a r t i s t s , and men o f l i t -e r a t u r e , b u t s c a r c e l y any a t t e n t i o n has been g i v e n t o the e m p i r i c a l i n v e s -t i g a t i o n o f s e t t i n g s o f d e a t h and d y i n g i n contemporary Western s o c i e t y . " (20) As Sudnow had l o o k e d a t t h e h o s p i t a l s e t t i n g , I now proposed t o de-s c r i b e a n o t h e r s e t t i n g where d e a t h i s a c e n t r a l o c c u p a t i o n a l c o n c e r n , and the d e t e r m i n a t i o n and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f d e a t h a d a i l y a c t i v i t y , t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e and c i t y morgue. "Nowhere do we have," wrote Sudnow, "an ethnography o f d e a t h , d e s c r i p -t i o n s o f how dead b o d i e s a r e h a n d l e d i n h o s p i t a l s , how c a r e i s g i v e n 'dy-i n g ' p a t i e n t s , how members o f deceased p a t i e n t s ' f a m i l i e s a r e i n f o r m e d o f the deaths o f t h e i r r e l a t i v e s . . . " e t c . (21) F u r t h e r , nowhere do we have d e s c r i p t i o n s o f how dead b o d i e s a r e h a n d l e d i n c o r o n e r ' s morgues, how c o r -o n e r s conduct i n v e s t i g a t i o n s f o r cause o f d e a t h , how i n q u e s t s a r e h e l d , o r how c o r o n e r s come t o c a l l some deaths ' s u i c i d e s ' . Sudnow d i d h i s r e s e a r c h i n two h o s p i t a l s , a l a r g e , urban West C o a s t c h a r i t y i n s t i t u t i o n , and a M i d w e s t e r n , p r i v a t e , g e n e r a l h o s p i t a l . "In b o t h s e t t i n g s , i n the r o l e o f a ' n o n - p a r t i c i p a n t o b s e r v e r ' , I have sought 15. t o g e t c l o s e t o o c c a s i o n s o f ' d y i n g ' and 'd e a t h ' , r e c o r d what t r a n s p i r e s i n the b e h a v i o r o f s t a f f members o f t h e i n s t i t u t i o n s on such o c c a s i o n s , and a n a l y z e some o f the g e n e r a l f e a t u r e s o f t h a t b e h a v i o r . My c e n t r a l e f f o r t has been t o l o c a t e 'death' and ' d y i n g ' as o r g a n i z a t i o n a l l y r e l e v a n t e v e n t s , c o n c e i v e o f t h e i r h a n d l i n g as governed by the p r a c t i c a l l y o r g a n i z e d work c o n s i d e r a t i o n s o f h o s p i t a l p e r s o n n e l and ward s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n , and s k e t c h o u t c e r t a i n themes which appear t o b r i n g t o g e t h e r a s e t o f o b s e r v -ed f a c t s about s o c i a l p r a c t i c e s r e l a t i n g t o ' d y i n g ' and 'death." (22) An-a l o g o u s l y , working i n t h e Vancouver c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e and c i t y morgue as a s o c i o l o g i s t , I was p e r m i t t e d t o be p r e s e n t a t a v a r i e t y o f o c c a s i o n s i n which d e a t h i s a c e n t r a l c o n c e r n i n o r d e r t o d e s c r i b e what s t a f f p e r s o n n e l do. As i n d i c a t e d above, I was l e d t o see 'death' as an o r g a n i z a t i o n a l l y r e l e v a n t e v e n t . From my f i r s t i n t e r v i e w w i t h t h e c o r o n e r I was o r i e n t e d t o see how c a s e s were h a n d l e d as governed by the p r a c t i c a l demands f a c e d by members o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s s t a f f . I n d i s c u s s i n g t h e p r o b l e m o f h i s s t u d y , Sudnow d e s c r i b e s the c e n t r a l t h e o r e t i c a l and m e t h o d o l o g i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e t h a t g u i d e d much o f h i s work. "That p e r s p e c t i v e says t h a t t h e c a t e g o r i e s o f h o s p i t a l l i f e , e.g., ' l i f e ' , ' i l l n e s s ' , ' p a t i e n t ' , ' d y i n g ' , 'death', o r wh a t e v e r , a re t o be seen as c o n s t i t u t e d by the p r a c t i c e s o f h o s p i t a l p e r s o n n e l as th e y engage i n t h e i r d a i l y r o u t i n i z e d i n t e r - a c t i o n s w i t h i n an o r g a n i z a t i o n a l m i l i e u . T h i s p e r -s p e c t i v e i m p l i e s a s p e c i a l c o n c e r n w i t h t h e form a d e f i n i t i o n s h o u l d t a k e , t h a t c o n c e r n i n v o l v i n g a s e a r c h f o r the p r o c e d u r a l b a s i s o f e v e n t s . By t h i s I mean t h a t a s e a r c h i s made, v i a t h e e t h n o g r a p h i c d e s c r i p t i o n o f h o s p i t a l s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e and a c t i v i t i e s , f o r t h o s e p r a c t i c e s which g i v e 'death r e -l a t e d c a t e g o r i e s ' t h e i r c o n c r e t e o r g a n i z a t i o n a l f o u n d a t i o n s . Rather t h a n e n t e r i n g t h e h o s p i t a l t o i n v e s t i g a t e 'death' and ' d y i n g ' as I c o n c e i v e d them, I sought t o d e v e l o p ' " d e f i n i t i o n s ' o f such phenomena based on a c t i o n s 16. i n v o l v e d i n t h e i r r e c o g n i t i o n , t r e a t m e n t and consequences. 'Death' and ' d y i n g ' a r e , from t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e , t h e s e t o f p r a c t i c e s e n f o r c e d when s t a f f employ t h o s e terms i n t h e c o u r s e o f t h e i r workday on t h e h o s p i t a l ward . . . I r e f e r t o t h e s e p r a c t i c e s as what 'death' and ' d y i n g ' a r e , not as t h e 'ways d y i n g and dead p e o p l e a r e t r e a t e d ' , o r such a f o r m u l a -t i o n . " (23) M o d i f y i n g t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e t o r e f e r t o t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , i t says t h a t the c a t e g o r i e s t h a t a r e used w i t h i n t h e c o r o n e r ' s a c t i v i t y , such a s , ' i n q u e s t ' , ' p a t h o l o g i c a l f i n d i n g s ' , ' i d e n t i f i c a t i o n ' , ' s u i c i d e ' , ' a c c i -d e n t ' , e t c . , a r e t o be seen as c o n s t i t u t e d by the methods and p r o c e d u r e s o f t h e c o r o n e r and h i s p e r s o n n e l as the y engage": from day t o day i n t h e i r work w i t h i n an o r g a n i z a t i o n a l c o n t e x t . By a c o n c e r n f o r ' d e f i n i t i o n ' , one doesn't i n t e n d t h e p r o d u c t o f t h a t c o n c e r n t o be a u t h o r i t a t i v e d e f i n i t -i o n s such as Durkheim o f f e r e d . Rather one l o o k s t o see how p r o c e d u r e s a r e d e f i n i t i o n s o f what a c a t e g o r y i s . While I h a d , as o t h e r members o f t h e s o c i e t y h a v e , n o t i o n s about ' s u i c i d e s ' and ' i n q u e s t s ' , my s e a r c h would d e v e l o p ' d e f i n i t i o n s ' o f such a c t i v i t i e s and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s based on what c o r o n e r ' s p e r s o n n e l l i t e r a l l y d i d i n d i s p l a y i n g , , . d e c i d i n g o n , and b r i n g i n g o f f such e v e n t s . My emphasis i s on t h e ' p r o d u c t i o n o f a cause o f d e a t h ' o r ' c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f d e a t h ' as t h e s e causes and c l a s s i f i c a -t i o n s come t o be r e c o r d e d on R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death c e r t i f i c a t e s . Sudnow w r i t e s , t h a t i n " f o c u s s i n g on ' n a t u r a l s t a t e s ' as the p r o d -u c t s o f o r g a n i z a t i o n a l l y p r e s c r i b e d d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g , I i n t e n d t o d i s -c o v e r t h e s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r o f t h e s e n a t u r a l s t a t e s . " The p r o c e d u r a l p e r s p e c t i v e employed by Sudnow f o c u s e s on s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n i n the f o l l o w i n g way: " T h i s i s not t o suggest t h a t such n a t u r a l s t a t e s a r e not as w e l l t h e p r o d u c t s o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l a p p a r a t u s ; o f c o u r s e t h e y a r e . But b i o l o g i c a l 'happenings' a r e ' d i s c o v e r e d ' , ' r e c o g n i z e d ' , 'named', and 17. ' t r e a t e d ' - and t h e s e a c t i v i t i e s o c c u r i n an o r g a n i z e d s o c i a l w o r l d - by persons who have e s t a b l i s h e d r u l e s o f c e r t i f i c a t i o n a l l o w i n g c e r t a i n o f them t o make o f f i c i a l l y v a l i d d e s i g n a t i o n s , who prem i s e i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d c o u r -ses o f a c t i o n on t h e b a s i s o f t h e i r knowledge o f t h e i r own and o t h e r s ' s t a t e s . " (24) A p p l i e d t o the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , t h i s says t h a t w h i l e we r e c o g n i z e the b i o l o g i c a l o c c u r r e n c e o f d e a t h , we're con c e r n e d w i t h t h e ' d i s c o v e r y ' o f such a h a p p e n i n g , f r e q u e n t l y , as i t o c c u r s , by f r i e n d s , r e l a t i v e s , o r l a n d l o r d s o f t h e d e c e a s e d . By r e f e r e n c e t o t h e s e e v e n t s o c c u r r i n g w i t h i n 'an o r g a n i z e d s o c i a l w o r l d ' , we mean t h a t p e r s o n s making such d i s c o v e r i e s r o u t i n e l y c a l l upon o t h e r s , such as t h e p o l i c e , t o make a ' r e p o r t ' o f t h e i r d i s c o v e r i e s , and t h a t t h e p o l i c e c a l l upon d o c t o r s t o 'pronounce' deaths as a means o f ' v e r i f y i n g ' t h e s e ' r e c o g n i t i o n s ' . I t i s p r e p o n d e r a n t l y not the case t h a t s i m p l y anyone i s c a l l e d i n t o p e r f o r m t h e s e p r o c e d u r e s o f c e r t i f i c a t i o n , b u t r o u t i n e l y i t i s t h o s e who can make ' o f f i c i a l l y v a l i d d e s i g n a t i o n s ' o f such e v e n t s . Such d i s c o v e r i e s a r e s o c i a l l y c o n s e q u e n t i a l , i n t h a t t h e p e r s o n making such a r e c o g n i t i o n can l a t e r be 'summoned' t o make ' i d e n t i f i c a t i o n ' o f the p e r s o n he f o u n d , o r be a ' w i t n e s s ' a t an ' i n q u e s t . ' F u r t h e r , t h e r e a r e e s t a b l i s h e d r o u t i n e s f o r g a t h e r i n g and t r a n s m i t -t i n g r e p o r t s o f t h e s e p r o c e d u r e s t o v a r i o u s i n s t i t u t i o n s . " I n f a c t , t h e v e r y r e c o g n i t i o n and naming o f such b i o l o g i c a l l y l o c a t a b l e e v e n t s as 'death' o c c u r as s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s : s o c i a l i n t h a t t h e y r e q u i r e s p e c i a l a c h i e v e d competence, i n t h a t t h e p r o p r i e t y o f the names g i v e n i s d e t e r -mined by a c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n , i n t h a t the c o r r e c t n e s s o r i n c o r r e c t n e s s o f a d e s i g n a t i o n i s a m a t t e r o f immense p r a c t i c a l c o n c e r n t o o t h e r s . " (25) T h i s i s not t o say t h a t t h e r e a r e n ' t competing d e s i g n a t i o n s which a c h i e v e s t a n d i n g as 'what happened' w i t h i n d i s c r e t e s o c i a l m i l i e u s . A d e a t h t h a t 18. may be determined by t h e c o r o n e r as an ' a c c i d e n t ' , and o f f i c i a l l y so d e s i g -n a t e d and t r e a t e d f o r a l l o f f i c i a l p r a c t i c a l p u r p o s e s , may be known among t h e deceased's i n t i m a t e s as a ' s u i c i d e ' . The r e s e a r c h e r ' s t a s k i s not t o r e c o n c i l e t h e s e competing d e s i g n a t i o n s , but t o f i n d t h a t such a s t a t e o f a f f a i r s i s the c h a r a c t e r o f the s o c i a l w o r l d . One may be c o n c e r n e d w i t h how v a r i o u s p a r t i e s a r r i v e a t d i f f e r e n t d e s i g n a t i o n s o r t h e methods by which t h e y themselves attempt t o r e c o n c i l e ' d i f f e r e n c e s . "These r e l e v a n c e s g i v e t he c a t e g o r i e s ' d y i n g ' and 'death' a d i s t i n c t l y s o c i a l b a s i s ; t h e v e r y d e t e r m i n a t i o n t h a t a p e r s o n i s 'dead' o r n o t , o r ' d y i n g ' o r n o t , a r e s o c i a l l y i n f u s e d a c t i v i t i e s . I s h a l l argue t h a t a s e p a r a t i o n o f the s o c i a l and b i o l o g i c a l components o f t h e s e phenom-ena i s d i f f i c u l t t o a c h i e v e w i t h any c l a r i t y . " (26) F o r example, w h i l e t h e c h e m i c a l f i n d i n g s of-'-a.-toxic© l e g i s t may b e • s a i d t o . a u t h o r i t a t i v e l y d e t e r -mine a cause o f d e a t h , and t h u s appear t o be s t r i c t l y a ' s c i e n t i f i c ' mat-t e r , I would want t o say t h a t such p r o c e d u r e s as ' d e c i d i n g ' t o send sam-p l e s t o the t o x i c o l o g i s t , o r h a v i n g a ' r o u t i n e ' by which samples g e t t o him, and how i t i s t h a t such f i n d i n g come t o be viewed as ' a u t h o r i t a t i v e ' and ' c o n c l u s i v e ' a r e i n s e p a r a b l e s o c i a l f e a t u r e s o f the a c t i v i t y . Of h i s own work, Sudnow s a y s , " T h i s s t u d y thus seeks t o e x p l o r e t h e s o c i o l o g i c a l s t r u c t u r e o f c e r t a i n c a t e g o r i e s p e r t a i n i n g t o d e a t h . I t s foremost c o n c e r n i s not w i t h such an i n t e r e s t as ' a t t i t u d e s toward d e a t h ' , b u t w i t h the a c t i v i t i e s o f ' s e e i n g d e a t h ' , 'announcing d e a t h ' , ' s u s p e c t i n g d e a t h ' , and the l i k e , where i n each case t h e ways i n which t h e s e a c t i v i t i e s o c c u r can be seen t o f u r n i s h us t h e b a s i s f o r a d e c r i p t -i o n o f what d e a t h i s as a s o c i o l o g i c a l phenomenon." (27) E q u a l l y , I was not c e n t r a l l y i n t e r e s t e d i n , s a y , ' a t t i t u d e s t o s u i c i d e ' , ' p h i l o s o p h i c a l s p e c u l a t i o n s ' o r l o c a t i n g , as has been t r a d i t i o n a l l y done, ' v a r i a b l e s ' which might be c o r r e l a t e d t o c e r t a i n ' c a t e g o r i e s ' . I was i n t e r e s t e d i n 19. the methods and p r o c e d u r e s by which such c a t e g o r i e s as 'cause o f d e a t h ' o r ' c l a s s i f i c a t i o n ' o f d e a t h a r e a d e q u a t e l y f i l l e d i n . " I seek t o show by examining t h e phenomena o f ' d y i n g ' and 'death' as p h y s i c i a n s and n u r s e s themselves r e g a r d them t h a t such phenomena cannot be a d e q u a t e l y d e s c r i b e d a t any l e v e l w i t h o u t c o n s u l t i n g t h e s o c i a l l y o r g a n i z e d c h a r a c t e r o f t h o s e judgmental a c t i v i t i e s and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e c o n s i d e r a t i o n s which are i n v o l v e d and e v e n t u a t e i n t h e i r d i s c o v e r y , t r e a t m e n t and consequent e f f e c t s . " (28) Though such a statement o f p e r s p e c t i v e appears q u i t e t h o r o u g h - g o i n g , the development o f p a r t i c u l a r t o p i c s o f t h e r e s e a r c h appears t o remain a f u n c t i o n o f the a r t f u l n e s s o f the r e s e a r c h e r . By a r t f u l n e s s , I'm r e f e r r i n g t o such p h r a s e s i n Sudnow's book as " s k e t c h out c e r t a i n themes which appear t o b r i n g t o g e t h e r a s e t o f o b s e r v e d f a c t s " . A t t h i s time one can be no more r i g o r o u s t h a n t o say c e r t a i n d a t a came r e a d i l y t o hand, t h e r e s e a r c h -e r found h i m s e l f ' i n t e r e s t e d ' o r ' i n s p i r e d ' t o o r g a n i z e h i s m a t e r i a l s i n such a way t h a t t h e r e e v e n t u a t e d , f o r example, i n Sudnow's work, an extended c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f 'bereavement', as a m a t t e r t a n g e n t i a l l y r e l a -t e d t o h i s c e n t r a l e t h n o g r a p h i c c o n e r n s . These developments have an h i s -t o r i c a l c h a r a c t e r , and where I would r u n i n t o m a t e r i a l t h a t Sudnow had de-v e l o p e d i n such a way, I would be l e d t o t r y t o extend the work he had done. I'm t h i n k i n g p a r t i c u l a r l y o f a c a s e , e a r l y on i n my r e s e a r c h , where I had o c c a s i o n t o i n t e r v i e w f r i e n d s o f a deceased i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h anoth-e r a c t i v i t y o f mine. Having r e a d Sudnow, I found m y s e l f , not u n n a t u r a l l y , o b s e r v i n g how t h e s e p e r s o n s ' d i s p l a y e d bereavement'. Mention must be made o f the h i s t o r i c a l development t h a t l e d t o Sud-now's p e r s p e c t i v e , w h i c h , o f c o u r s e , d i d n ' t s p r i n g f o r t h f u l l blown. I n about 1950, H a r o l d G a r f i n k e l , working from t h e p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l p h i l o s o p h -e r s A l f r e d Schutz and Edmund H u s s e r l , began a s e r i e s o f s o c i o l o g i c a l s t u d -20. i e s whose c h a r a c t e r was o f such a p a r t i c u l a r n a t u r e , t h a t he f e l t j u s t i f i e d i n c o i n i n g t h e term 1ethnomethodology* i n r e f e r r i n g t o them. I n a c o l l e c t i o n o f t h e s e i n v e s t i g a t i o n s , S t u d i e s i n Ethnomethodology ( 2 9 ) , G a r f i n k e l has o c c a s i o n , i n e x p l a i n i n g h i s work, t o r e f e r t o something t h a t d i r e c t l y t a k e s i n t h e c o n c e r n s o f t h a t passage i n S u i c i d e which was i n i t i a l l y o f such i n -t e r e s t t o me. " I n d o i n g s o c i o l o g y , l a y and p r o f e s s i o n a l , e v e r y r e f e r e n c e t o th e ' r e a l w o r l d ' , even where t he r e f e r e n c e i s t o p h y s i c a l o r b i o l o g i c a l e-v e n t s , i s a r e f e r e n c e t o t h e o r g a n i z e d a c t i v i t i e s o f everyday l i f e . " (30) (Sudnow's statement about how b i o l o g i c a l happenings a r e ' d i s c o v e r e d ' , ' r e c o g n i z e d ' , e t c . , i s an e l a b o r a t i o n o f t h i s premise.) G a r f i n k e l c o n t i n -u e s , " Thereby, i n c o n t r a s t t o c e r t a i n v e r s i o n s o f D u r k h e i m t h a t feeach t h a t the o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y o f s o c i a l f a c t s i s s o c i o l o g y ' s fundamental p r i n c i p l e , the l e s s o n i s ,.taken i n s t e a d , and used as a st u d y p o l i c y , t h a t t h e o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y o f s o c i a l f a c t s as_ an ongoing accomplishment o f t h e c o n c e r t e d a c t i v -i t i e s o f d a i l y l i f e , w i t h t h e o r d i n a r y , a r t f u l ways o f t h a t accomplishment b e i n g by members k n o w , u s e d , and t a k e n f o r g r a n t e d , i s , f o r members d o i n g s o c i o l o g y , a fundamental phenomenon." (31) I c i t e t h i s passage t o under-s c o r e my p r e v i o u s remarks about t h e r a t i o n a l e f o r d o i n g ethnography. I'ri such a v i e w , what members do i s n o t t a k e n f o r g r a n t e d as a b a s i s f o r o f f e r -i n g a ' s c i e n t i f i c ' e x p l a n a t i o n o f what t h e i r d o i n g s mean, b u t how members do t h i n g s i s t a k e n as the fundamental m a t t e r f o r i n v e s t i g a t i o n . "Ethnometh-o d o l o g i c a l s t u d i e s a n a l y z e everyday a c t i v i t i e s as members' methods f o r making t h o s e same a c t i v i t i e s v i s i b l y - r a t i o n a l - a n d - r e p o r t a b l e - f o r - a l l - p r a c -t i c a l - p u r p o s e s , i . e . , ' a c c o u n t a b l e ' , as o r g a n i z a t i o n s o f commonplace ev-eryday a c t i v i t i e s . " (32) G a r f i n k e l i s i n t e r e s t e d i n " l e a r n i n g how members' a c t u a l , o r d i n a r y a c t i v i t i e s c o n s i s t o f methods t o make p r a c t i c a l a c t i o n s , p r a c t i c a l c i r -c umstances, common sense knowledge o f s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e s , and p r a c t i c a l 21. s o c i o l o g i c a l r e a s o n i n g a n a l y z e a b l e ; and o f d i s c o v e r i n g the f o r m a l p r o p e r -t i e s o f commonplace, p r a c t i c a l common sense a c t i o n s , 'from w i t h i n ' a c t u a l s e t t i n g s , as o n g o i n g accomplishments o f t h o s e s e t t i n g s . " (33) The impera-t i v e c o n c e r n w i t h s e t t i n g s t h a t G a r f i n k e l p o i n t s t o would l e a d me t o see how c e r t a i n u t t e r a n c e s s p e c u l a t i n g on the cause o f d e a t h made i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e c o u l d be a s u b s t a n t i v e p a r t o f a method f o r a r r i v — i n g a t ' p a t h o l o g i c a l f i n d i n g s ' , whereas s i m i l a r remarks u t t e r e d by f r i e n d s o f the dead i n the s e t t i n g o f a pub c o u l d be seen by o t h e r s as an approp-r i a t e way o f e x p r e s s i n g bereavement. G a r f i n k e l i s i n f i r m o p p o s i t i o n t o the ' r e m e d i a l ' h a b i t o f s o c i o l o g y . " E t h n o m e t h o d o l o g i c a l s t u d i e s are not d i r e c t e d t o f o r m u l a t i n g o r a r g u i n g c o r r e c t i v e s . . . They do not f o r m u l a t e a remedy f o r p r a c t i c a l a c t i o n s , as i f i t was b e i n g found about p r a c t i c a l a c t i o n s t h a t t h e y were b e t t e r o r worse than t h e y a r e u s u a l l y c r a c k e d up t o be." (34) I t was f o r t u i t o u s l y / c o i n c i d e n t a l f o r my own work t h a t G a r f i n k e l , and h i s c o l l e a g u e , Harvey S a c k s , have b o t h had o c c a s i o n t o do r e s e a r c h i n v o l v i n g s u i c i d e s and c o r o n e r s . G a r f i n k e l s t u d i e s one a s p e c t o f t h e work o f t h e Los A n g e l e s S u i c i d e P r e v e n t i o n C e n t e r (SPC). " S e l e c t e d c a s e s o f 'sudden, u n n a t u r a l d e a t h ' t h a t were e q u i v o c a l between ' s u i c i d e ' and o t h -e r modes o f de a t h were r e f e r r e d by t h e M e d i c a l Examiner-Coroner t o t h e SPC w i t h t h e r e q u e s t t h a t an i n q u i r y . . . be done." (35) G a r f i n k e l ' s con-c e r n s a r e e t h n o m e t h o d o l o g i c a l r a t h e r t h a n e t h n o g r a p h i c , t h a t i s , he tends t o f o c u s i n d e t a i l on p a r t i c u l a r a s p e c t s o f a s i t u a t i o n r a t h e r t h a n a t -tempt more b r o a d l y d i s c u r s i v e d e s c r i p t i o n s o f the s o r t Sudnow d i d ; how-e v e r , c e r t a i n o f h i s f i n d i n g s would be i m p l i c i t l y u s e f u l t o me. The d i f -f e r e n c e i s l a r g e l y p e r s p e c t i v a l . T h a t i s , I might c o n c e n t r a t e on how w i t -nesses a t c o r o n e r ' s i n q u e s t s a c c o m p l i s h e d t h e i r ' w i t n e s s i n g ' , but I w o u l d — n't want t o c a l l t h a t an ethnography o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e . I f 'methods 22. and p r o c e d u r e s f o r w i t n e s s i n g ' were my f o c u s , I would l i k e l y t u r n t o a v a r i e t y o f c i r c u m s t a n c e s i n which such an a c t i v i t y i s done t o l o c a t e i n -v a r i a b l e f e a t u r e s , i f p o s s i b l e , o f t h e a c t i v i t y . I n p r i n c i p l e , t h e r e i s n o t h i n g t o b a r one from d o i n g such a s t u d y . By p r e f e r e n c e , however, I chose t o l o o k a t a v a r i e t y o f a c t i v i t i e s l o c a t e d w i t h i n one s e t t i n g , l e a v i n g t h e e x p l i c a t i o n o f 'deeper s t r u c t u r e s ' (to borrow a term from l i n g u i s t i c s ) t o o t h e r s . The r e l e v a n t passages I found i n G a r f i n k e l have t o do w i t h how ac-c ounts o f a p e r s o n ' s d e a t h a r e put t o g e t h e r . "SPC i n q u i r i e s b e g i n w i t h a d e a t h t h a t the c o r o n e r f i n d s e q u i v o c a l as t o mode o f d e a t h . That death t h e y use as a p r e c e d e n t w i t h which v a r i o u s ways o f l i v i n g i n s o c i e t y t h a t c o u l d have t e r m i n a t e d w i t h t h a t d e a t h are s e a r c h e d o u t and r e a d ' i n t h e remains'; i n t h e s c r a p s o f t h i s and t h a t l i k e t h e body and i t s t r a p p i n g s , m e d i c i n e b o t t l e s , n o t e s , b i t s and p i e c e s o f c l o t h i n g , and o t h e r memorabil-i a - s t u f f t h a t can be p h o t o g r a p h e d , c o l l e c t e d , and p ackaged. Other ' r e -mains' a r e c o l l e c t e d t o o : rumors, p a s s i n g remarks and s t o r i e s - m a t e r i a l s i n t h e r e p e r t o i r e s ' o f whosoever might be c o n s u l t e d v i a t h e common work o f c o n v e r s a t i o n s . These'whatsoever b i t s and p i e c e s t h a t a s t o r y o r a r u l e o r a p r o v e r b might make i n t e l l i g i b l e a r e used t o f o r m u l a t e a r e c o g n i z a b l y c o h e r e n t , s t a n d a r d , t y p i c a l , c o g e n t , u n i f o r m , p l a n f u l , i . e . , a p r o f e s s i o n -a l l y d e f e n s i b l e , and t h e r e b y , f o r members, a r e c o g n i z a b l y r a t i o n a l a c c o u n t o f how t h e s o c i e t y worked t o produce t h o s e r e m a i n s . T h i s p o i n t w i l l be e a s i e r t o make i f the r e a d e r w i l l c o n s u l t any s t a n d a r d t e x t b o o k i n f o r e n -s i c p a t h o l o g y . In i t he w i l l f i n d t h e i n e v i t a b l e photograph o f a v i c t i m w i t h a s l a s h e d t h r o a t . Were the c o r o n e r t o use t h a t ' s i g h t ' t o recommend th e e q u i v o c a l i t y o f t h e mode o f death he might say something l i k e t h i s : 'In the c a s e where a body l o o k s l i k e t h e one i n t h a t p i c t u r e , you a r e l o o k i n g a t a s u i c i d a l d e a t h because the wound shows the ' h e s i t a t i o n c u t s ' t h a t ac-23. company the g r e a t wound. One can imagine t h e s e c u t s a r e t h e remains o f a p r o c e d u r e whereby t h e v i c t i m f i r s t made s e v e r a l p r e l i m i n a r y t r i a l s o f a h e s i t a t i n g s o r t and t h e n p e r f o r m e d t h e l e t h a l s l a s h . Other c o u r s e s o f ac-t i o n a r e i m a g i n a b l e , t o o , and so c u t s t h a t l o o k l i k e h e s i t a t i o n c u t s can be produced by o t h e r mechanisms. One needs t o s t a r t w i t h the a c t u a l d i s -p l a y and imagine how d i f f e r e n t c o u r s e s o f a c t i o n c o u l d have been o r g a n i z e d such t h a t t h a t p i c t u r e would be c o m p a t i b l e w i t h i t . One might t h i n k o f t h e photographed d i s p l a y as a p h a s e - o f - a c t i o n . In any a c t u a l d i s p l a y i s t h e r e a c o u r s e o f a c t i o n w i t h which t h a t phase i s u n i q u e l y c o m p a t i b l e ? That i s the c o r o n e r ' s q u e s t i o n . ' " "The c o r o n e r (and SPC'ers) ask t h i s w i t h r e s p e c t t o each p a r t i c u l a r c a s e , and t h e r e b y t h e i r work o f a c h i e v i n g p r a c t i c a l d e c i d a b i l i t y seems, almost u n a v o i d a b l y , t o d i s p l a y t h e f o l l o w i n g p r e v a i l i n g and i m p o r t a n t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c . SPC'ers must a c c o m p l i s h t h a t d e c i d a b i l i t y w i t h r e s p e c t t o the ' t h i s ' s ' : t h e y have t o s t a r t w i t h t h i s much; t h i s s i g h t ; t h i s n o t e ; t h i s c o l l e c t i o n o f whatever i s a t hand. And whatever i s t h e r e i s good e-nough i n t h e sense t h a t whatever i s t h e r e not o n l y w i l l d o , b u t d o e s . One makes whatever i s t h e r e do." (36) T h i s a s p e c t o f 'making do" was em-p h a s i s e d by the Vancouver c o r o n e r , i n commenting on the f u t i l i t y o f spec-u l a t i n g about u l t i m a t e i n t e n t i o n s , when he s a i d , "How can you d e t ermine whether a man has changed h i s mind a f t e r he's t a k e n an o v e r d ose and j u s t s l i p p e d i n t o a deep coma o r semi-coma? How can a man be judged t o have changed h i s mind when he p u l l s t h e t r i g g e r and the p r o j e c t i l e i s now moving t h r o u g h the b a r r e l and he changes h i s mind a g a i n , how do you know the i n t e n t i o n a t the f i n a l moment? Or t h e c l a s s i c one i s where he's h a l f w a y down from o f f the b r i d g e . " "How do you know?" I a s k e d . "We don't know," he s a i d . That i s , s u i c i d e is_ s u i c i d e i n s o f a r as can be d e t e r m i n e d from what's t h e r e . (37) 2 4 . As G a r f i n k e l concludes, "I do not mean by 'making do' that an SPC i n -vestig a t o r i s too e a s i l y content, or that he does not look f o r more when he should. Instead, I mean: the whatever i t i s that he has to deal with, that i s what w i l l have been used to have found out, to have made decidable, the way i n which the society operated to have produced that p i c t u r e , to have come to that scene as i t s end r e s u l t . In t h i s way the remains on the slab serve not only as a precedent but as a goal of SPC i n q u i r i e s . " (38) Gar-f i n k e l 's remarks would return to me f o r c i b l y when the occasion came where I would view a body that had been a l i v i n g person 30 minutes before as I observed the coroner's s t a f f begin an inquiry that would somehow add up to the corpse before us. Garfinkel's colleague, Harvey Sacks, also did research at a Suicide Prevention Center i n the mid 1960s. While Sacks' work i s not d i r e c t l y ger-mane to my ethnographic inquiry, h i s development of the notion of 'Member-ship Categorization Devices' i n h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n , The Search f o r Help: No  One To Turn To, (39) has acquired something of a landmark status among s o c i o l o g i s t s doing ethnomethodological studies, and i s i l l u s t r a t i v e of the d i r e c t i o n which such research can take. At the Suicide Prevention Center, Sacks observed that p o t e n t i a l l y s u i c i d a l persons and t h e i r friends faced p a r t i c u l a r problems i n searching out, p r o f f e r i n g , refusing or avoiding help for a member's su i c i d a l n e s s . Making use of a s e r i e s of recorded phone con-versations between personnel of the SPC and c a l l e r s , Sacks sought to inves-t i g a t e the methods members employ i n doing the various a c t i v i t i e s which the search f o r help e n t a i l s . S p e c i f i c a l l y , Sacks attempted to describe how a s u i c i d a l member may come to f i n d that he has 'no one to turn to' i n the ways he ve r b a l l y formulates categories of e l i g i b l e and i n e l i g i b l e possible helpers. Sacks, i t must be understood, wasn't attempting an ethnographic de-25. s c r i p t i o n o f what goes on i n a S u i c i d e P r e v e n t i o n C e n t e r . Though, c o i n c i -d e n t a l l y making use o f c o n v e r s a t i o n s g e n e r a t e d by a s u i c i d a l member, t h e v a l u e o f such t a l k was t h a t i t a l l o w e d Sacks t o c u t i n t o some g e n e r a l p r o p e r t i e s o f how s o c i e t y works as r e v e a l e d by c o n v e r s a t i o n a l a n a l y s i s , s p e c i f i c a l l y t h e t h e s i s t h a t members o f a s o c i e t y f a c e s e v e r a l s i g n i f i -c a n t problems when c a t e g o r i z i n g each o t h e r and t h a t they have s y s t e m a t i c methods f o r h a n d l i n g t h o s e p r o b l e m s . The c h a r a c t e r o f Sacks-' work i s t h a t i t i s somewhat analogous t o t h e a n a l y s i s o f s y n t a c t i c s t r u c t u r e s done i n f o r m a l l i n g u i s t i c s , and t o a l e s s e r e x t e n t , the c o m p o n e n t i a l a n a l y s i s o f a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s . That i s , j u s t as t h e l i n g u i s t s seek t o b u i l d a genera-t i v e grammar f o r a l a n g u a g e , t h e t a s k Sacks s e t h i m s e l f was t o p r e s e n t the b a s i s f o r a g e n e r a t i v e ' s o c i a l grammar', t h e use o f which e n a b l e mem-b e r s o f the s o c i e t y t o engage i n t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s o f d e s c r i b i n g , c o n v e r -s i n g , r e p o r t i n g , q u e s t i o n i n g , e t c . What made S a c k s ' work so e x c i t i n g t o r e a d a t t h e time was h i s d e m o n s t r a t i o n t h a t t h e t e c h n i q u e s l i n g u i s t s were -u s i n g i n grammar c o u l d be s i m i l a r l y a p p l i e d t o an a r e a l i n g u i s t s r e f e r t o as ' s e m a n t i c s ' , which th e y admit t o b e i n g u n a b l e a t t h e p r e s e n t time t o a n a l y t i c a l l y f o r m u l a t e . The v a l u e o f S a c k s ' r e s e a r c h f o r me was the ex-t e n t t o which i t f o c u s s e d my a t t e n t i o n on c o n v e r s a t i o n a l m a t e r i a l s as r e v e l a t o r y o f s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e s . I t was t h i s s e r i e s o f m a t e r i a l s I had absorbed - T u r n e r ' s c r i t i q u e o f Durkheim, Sudnow's P a s s i n g On, some p a p e r s by G a r f i n k e l and Sacks -which I c a r r i e d w i t h me, so t o speak, when I began my r e s e a r c h a t t h e Vancouver C o r o n e r ' s O f f i c e . I f e e l r e s p o n s i b l e , f i n a l l y , f o r a n t i c i p a t i n g one p o s s i b l e o b j e c t i o n t h a t might be made t o my e t h n o g r a p h i c work. A l t h o u g h i t may be the case t h a t my r e v i e w o f t h e l i t e r a t u r e has a l r e a d y i m p l i c i t l y d e a l t w i t h t h i s 26. i s s u e , a t v a r i o u s t i m e s , I would be asked by f e l l o w s t u d e n t s , " W e l l , a r e n ' t you g o i n g t o go t o some o t h e r c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e and c o l l e c t d a t a t h e r e ? " as though the absence o f a 'comparing and c o n t r a s t i n g ' o p e r a t i o n would l e a v e one w i t h l i t t l e t o say about t h e s e t t i n g where you've done o b s e r v a t i o n s . While I have no o b j e c t i o n , o f c o u r s e , t o i n f o r m a t i o n from o t h e r s i m i l a r e s t a b l i s h m e n t s , and can see the p o t e n t i a l u s e f u l n e s s o f such d a t a , i t / s not my i n t e n t i o n t o c a t a l o g u e the v a r i e t i e s o f c o r o n e r ' s p r a c t i c e s , nor am I c o n c e r n e d w i t h c h e c k i n g w i t h o t h e r such i n s t i t u t i o n s t o s e e , p e r h a p s , i f t h e c o r o n e r i n Vancouver i s 'doing i t r i g h t ' , n o r am I i n t e r e s t e d i n , somehow, even i f i t were p o s s i b l e , r e n d e r i n g h i s o p e r a t i o n more ' e f f i c i e n t ' . Some remarks I e n c o u n t e r e d i n a mimeographed Harvey Sacks l e c t u r e w i l l p e r -haps s e r v e t o e l u c i d a t e the m atter more g e n e r a l l y . Sacks s a y s , " . . . i t may be t h a t we can come up w i t h f i n d i n g s o f some c o n s i d e r a b l e g e n e r a l i t y by l o o k i n g a t v e r y s i n g u l a r p a r t i c u l a r t h i n g s . By a s k i n g what i t t a k e s f o r t h o s e t h i n g s t o have come o f f . The importance o f t h a t l i e s i n , f o r ex-ample: i t ' s always been a b i g p u z z l e t o a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s . . . how t h e y can say f a i r l y s i g n i f i c a n t g e n e r a l i z e d t h i n g s about a c u l t u r e when they t a l k t o a member, o r two. O r , f o r t h a t m a t t e r , how can l i n g u i s t s b u i l d a gram-mar o f a language on the b a s i s o f a c o r p u s c o l l e c t e d by t a l k i n g t o a na-t i v e o r two. Is i t mere chance t h a t t h a t happens? So t h a t most o f t h e time they ought t o f a l l i n t o t r o u b l e by d o i n g i t , o r i s i t t h e c a s e t h a t the w o r l d - t h e s o c i a l w o r l d a t any r a t e - i s a r r a n g e d so t h a t you can l o o k a t v e r y s m a l l amounts o f d a t a - f o r some t h i n g s anyway - and g e t deep and/or g e n e r a l i z e d r e s u l t s . " (40) So my own p o l i c y a t t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f -f i c e would be an e f f o r t t o o b t a i n m a t e r i a l s t h a t would l e a d t o a d e s c r i p -t i o n o f how t h e members o f t h a t i n s t i t u t i o n do whatever i t i s t h e y d o , i r r e s p e c t i v e o f whatever may be done a t o t h e r s i m i l a r i n s t i t u t i o n s . 27. Notes 1. The *Coroners Act' of B r i t i s h Columbia provides that "the Lieutenant Governor i n Council may, from time to time, appoint one or'more Coroners i n and f o r the Province, or f o r any less extensive j u r i s d i c t i o n which the Lieutenant-Governor i n Council may think proper." 2. Emile Durkheim, Suicide (Free Press, New York, 1951, edited by George Simpson; o r i g i n a l l y published 18970. 3. George Simpson's preface to Suicide, p. 9. 4. Suicide, p. 145. 5. G. Zilboorg, "Suicide Among C i v i l i z e d and P r i m i t i v e Races", American  Journal of Psychiatry, v o l . 92, 1935-36, quoted by Simpson i n the editor's introduction to Suicide. 6. Suicide, p. 18. 7. I b i d . , p. 19. 8. Ib i d . , p. 21, c i t i n g Zilboorg, " D i f f e r e n t i a l Diagnostic Types of Suicide", Archives : of Neurology and Psychiatry, v o l . 35, 1936. 9. '. Ib i d . , P- 23. 10. I b i d . , P. 26. 11. I b i d . , P. 41. 12. I b i d . , P- 41. 13. I b i d . , P. 41. 14. See part I I , section 1, 'Coroner's Formulations', utterance D. 44. 15. Suicide, p. 41. 16. I b i d . , p. 42. 17. I b i d . , p. 44. 18. David Sudnow, Passing On, The S o c i a l Organization of Dying (Prentice-H a l l , Englewood C l i f f s , New Jersey, 1967,).'. 19. I b i d . , p. v. Sudnow's claim about the 'heretofor undescribed' nature of h i s research i s documented i n a b r i e f review of the l i t e r a t u r e on pp. 1-3. 20. Ibid. , p. 1. 21. I b i d . , p. 3. 22. I b i d . , p. 3. 28. 23. .Ibid., p. 8. 24. Ib i d . , pp. 8-9. 25. Ib i d . , p. 9. 26. I b i d . , p. 9. 27. I b i d . , p. 9. 28. I b i d . , pp. 9-10. 29. Harold Gar f i n k e l lewood C l i f f s , New Jersey, 19670. 30. Ibid., p. v i i . 31. I b i d . , p. v i i . 32. I b i d . , p. v i i . 33. I b i d . , pp. v i i - v i i i . 34. I b i d . , p. v i i i . 35. I b i d . , p. 12. 36. I b i d . , p. 17-18. 37. See part I I , section 1, 'Coroner's Formulations', utterance D. 88. 38. Studies i n Ethnomethodology, p. 18. I elaborate on t h i s passage of Garfinkel.-V i n the section on 'Coroner's Formulations'. 39. Harvey Sacks, The Search For Help: No One To Turn To, unpublished Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a , Berkeley, 1966. 40. Sacks, unpublished mimeo le c t u r e , n.d. In the context of the materials I had absorbed p r i o r to doing the f i e l d research, I r e c a l l Matthew Speier reading t h i s passage from Sacks aloud to an assembled group of graduate students from the Univ e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia's Department of Anthropol-ogy and Sociology following a t a l k by Roy Turner on ethnomethodological an-a l y s i s . Considerable h o s t i l i t y was evident i n the group's remarks and a f t e r Speier read the Sacks passage aloud i t was sharply denied by an eminent economic anthropologist, present head of the Department, that anthropologists or l i n g u i s t s d i d indeed derive ethnographic and l i n g -u i s t i c d e s criptions from the reports of one or several informants that were treated as a basis f o r general or deep a n a l y t i c abstractions. While t h i s viewpoint was apparently shared by others present - and indeed by many members of the s o c i o l o g i c a l profession - i t does not appear to be consonant with the working methods o f t r a d i t i o n a l ethnographers, who have had to r e l y on one or several key informants f o r t h e i r information, and to propose that t h e i r ethnographic reports are i n v a l i d because of t h i s would ru l e out many previously accepted works. 29. 2 Since the concern of this study i s not simply 'information gathering', i t w i l l also be appropriate to pay some attention to the methods of the ac-t i v i t y that is 'producing' this information, e.g., the interview i t s e l f as a sociologically interesting occasion. Such attention i s j u s t i f i e d by the unresolved (and perhaps unresolva-ble) character of ethnography i t s e l f , and hence, we must not ignore the ac-t i v i t i e s which constitute the doing of ethnography. Rather than having a methodological goal, as sociologists have had in the past, of eliminating 'contamination' of the data, we prefer to be conscious of the methods that produce the data as a resource in themselves. This i s a perspective that we might c a l l 'reflexive analysis'. We assume that, in producing any ac-count of some activity in the world, we are not transmitting an unproblem-atic record of that activity's objective existence, but rather, that, the account which we produce is partially the product of our methods of seeing and reporting on that activity. By 'unresolved character of ethnography', I mean that we don't have a rigorous set of rules by which ethnography is pro-duced (theoretically, i t would be possible simply to present a mass of un-analyzed 'documents': interviews, tape-recorded bits of interaction, tele-phone c a l l s , court transcripts, f i l e s , and the l i k e , as the ethnography of an activity), but rather an historical series of objects we c a l l 'ethograph-ies'. We see that the ethnography developed hi s t o r i c a l l y , from travellers' accounts of l i t t l e accessible places, i n the interests of producing sys-tematically the sorts of information that earlier accounts sporadically provided (depending on the temperament of the narrator), and that now we are proposing the possibility of ethnographic work local to or within our own culture. Such a proposal draws on the recognition that the methods we 30. employ f o r r e s p o n d i n g t o o c c a s i o n s o f d e a t h ( i n t h i s i n s t a n c e ) a r e not 1 n a t u r a l f a c t s ' , b u t r a t h e r i t i s the case t h a t we have c r e a t e d r o u t i n e , o n - g o i n g , s y s t e m a t i c p r o c e d u r e s whereby we r e g u l a r l y engage i n , f o r ex-ample, 'the p r o d u c t i o n o f a cause o f d e a t h ' . The b r o a d p h i l o s o p h i c i m p l i c a t i o n s o f t h i s k i n d o f ethnography sug-g e s t s t h a t t h e m a t e r i a l s we are examining a r e , i n some s e n s e , t h e oper-a t i o n a l i z a t i o n o r e x p r e s s i o n o f a p e r v a s i v e body o f f o r m a l l y u n a r t i c u l a t e d thought t h a t we sometimes r e f e r t o as 'shared s o c i a l knowledge' o r 'com-mon-sense' ; f u r t h e r , t h a t t h e a n a l y s i s o f i t s e x p r e s s i o n s w i l l l e a d us t o the e x p l i c a t i o n o f t h i s s h a r e d s o c i a l knowledge, and t h u s , we may come t o an improved u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f the r e l a t i o n s h i p fietween, s a y , f o r m a l law (as i t appears i n c o n s t i t u t i o n s , l e g a l c o d e s , r u l e s , e t c . , r i g h t down t o such mundane appearances as i n s t r u c t i o n s f o r p u t t i n g c o i n s i n a p a r k i n g meter) and t h e amorphous body o f t r a d i t i o n , custom and h a b i t t h a t governs and d i s p l a y s t h e r e a s o n a b l e n e s s o f much o f everyday l i f e . C o n s e q u e n t l y , i n t h i s e n t e r p r i s e , we have as much i n t e r e s t as a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s have i n pay-i n g a t t e n t i o n t o and making use o f ' n a t i v e c a t e g o r i e s ' i n o r d e r t o see how 'they see the w o r l d ' , e x c e p t , o f c o u r s e , i n t h i s c a s e , t h e 'they' i s o u r s e l v e s . T h i s w i l l p erhaps a l s o a c c o u n t f o r o u r r e c u r r e n t i n t e r e s t , p r e s e n t a t i o n , and e x a m i n a t i o n o f o c c a s i o n s o f t a l k where t h e s e ' n a t i v e c a t e g o r i e s ' r e g u l a r l y o c c u r . One o f t h e p r i m a r y methods e t h n o g r a p h e r s t r a d i t i o n a l l y use f o r p r o -d u c i n g t h e i r d a t a i s the i n t e r v i e w w i t h an i n f o r m a n t . We c o u l d imagine t h a t 'an i n t e r v i e w ' might be an a c t i v i t y i n which t h e i n t e r v i e w e r p r e -p a r e s a l i s t o f q u e s t i o n s and t h e i n t e r v i e w e e answers them, w i t h t h e ac-t i v i t y g o i n g o f f i n s t r i c t s e q u e n t i a l i t y : i n t e r v i e w e r ' s p r e p a r e d q u e s t i o n , i n t e r v i e w e e ' s r e p l y , i n t e r v i e w e r ' s next p r e p a r e d q u e s t i o n s , and so o n . I invoke t h i s dummy model o f what an i n t e r v i e w might be s i m p l y t o p o i n t t o 31. t h e c h a r a c t e r o f a c t u a l i n t e r v i e w s and t o s e n s i t i s e o u r s e l v e s t o t h e p r o -cedures o f i n t e r v i e w i n g t h a t we have come t o t h i n k o f as ' o b v i o u s1. (In f a c t , c e r t a i n p o l i t i c a l i n t e r v i e w s , s uch as t h o s e between newsmen and d i p -lomats from m u t u a l l y h o s t i l e c o u n t r i e s , o f t e n t a k e e x a c t l y t h e form de-s c r i b e d above.) L e t me a l s o note t h a t I'm not conc e r n e d h e r e w i t h 'the s t r a t e g y o f i n t e r v i e w i n g ' as i t might be l a i d o u t i n a t r a i n i n g manual f o r d o i n g p r o f e s s i o n a l s o c i o l o g y , b u t w i t h d e l i n e a t i n g f e a t u r e s o f the a c t i v i t y o f i n t e r v i e w i n g as t h e y have t a k e n p l a c e ( t h u s , I would be i n -t e r e s t e d i n ' s t r a t e g y ' i n s o f a r as we c o u l d examine i t i n terms o f i t s so-c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n , t h a t i s , i f we c o u l d d i s p l a y i n s t a n c e s o f 'doing s t r a t -egy' i n c o n v e r s a t i o n s l i k e i n t e r v i e w s , where s t r a t e g i c i n t e r a c t i o n would be one f e a t u r e o f t h e i n t e r v i e w s i t u a t i o n ) . In an a c t u a l o c c a s i o n o f s o c i o l o g i c a l i n t e r v i e w i n g , such as my i n -i t i a l i n t e r v i e w w i t h t h e c o r o n e r '(see p a r t I I , s e c t i o n 1) , I f i n d t h a t n o t o n l y do I have some p r e p a r e d q u e s t i o n s t o a s k , b u t a l s o t h a t t h e i n t e r v i e w i t s e l f shapes t h e a c t i v i t y t h e c o r o n e r and I are engaged i n . That i s , i f i s not t h e case t h a t t h e c o r o n e r ' s answer t o a g i v e n q u e s t i o n goes u n t r e a t -ed u n t i l some subsequent o c c a s i o n o f ' a n a l y z i n g ' , b u t r a t h e r i t i s t h e case t h a t my ongoing ' a n a l y s i s ' o f t h e i n t e r v i e w e e ' s r e p l i e s p r o v i d e s the o c c a s i o n o f g e n e r a t i n g f u r t h e r q u e s t i o n s and s h a p i n g t h e form and o r d e r o f appearance t h a t p r e - p l a n n e d q u e s t i o n s a c t u a l l y t a k e . Thus, we might say t h a t much o f what an i n t e r v i e w amounts t o i s how any g i v e n i n s t a n c e o f i t i s t r e a t e d by t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s . T h i s f e a t u r e o f ' a t t e n d i n g ' t o the i n t e r v i e w can e a s i l y be made v i s -i b l e by e x t r a c t i n g , 'out o f c o n t e x t ' , an i n t e r v i e w e r ' s q u e s t i o n . F o r example: B. 15. I n t e r v i e w e r : Do you have t o p r o v i d e f o r t h a t i n s t a n c e ? Out o f c o n t e x t , t h e q u e s t i o n i s p r o b l e m a t i c , i n s o f a r as we're unable t o 32. determine from inspecting the question above what the 'that' i n 'that instance' r e f e r s to. In the dummy model, r e f e r r e d to above, which excludes the notion of 'attending', as i t ' s being used here, such questions would not occur. This i s not to claim, of course, that any question that d i s -plays t h i s problematic feature i s therefore a question generated out of attending to the previous utterance without having had any previous i n t e n -t i o n to ask i t . In f a c t , one way i n which an interviewer may d i s p l a y h i s ' s k i l l ' at interviewing may be through h i s a b i l i t y to 'weave' h i s prepar-ed questions into the context of the ongoing interview without a notice-able h i t c h . The above question i s 'restored' to ordinary sensibleness simply by backing up and look at a couple of preceding utterances (that i s , rever-sing the procedure by which the interviewer was able to generate the question): B. 12. Coroner: And also you go into l i k e , sometimes we c a l l t h i s the r e l i g i o u s area. For example, one r e l i g i o n refuses to have med-\ i c a l ~ assistance', and somebody d i e s , and the neighborhood i s upset. 13. Interviewer: Right, r i g h t . 14. C: Or again, refuses to take blood transfusions and everyone gets alarmed as to what the cause of death was. 15. I: Do you have to provide for that instance? You have to pro-vide t h i s r e g i s t r a t i o n of death form? 16. C: Oh yes, then I f i l l out t h i s . . . where 'that instance' (in B. 15) points to and reformulates the set of circumstances described i n utterances B. 12 and 14. The interview at hand i s not a 'spontaneous' a c t i v i t y , but one which has been planned f o r and prepared by both p a r t i e s beyond the arrangements made by phone f o r i t (what might be c a l l e d the 'pre-interview'). (Though I don't have any a v a i l a b l e t r a n s c r i p t materials of 'pre-interviews', I know from having engaged i n them that they pose p a r t i c u l a r problems, 33. such as i n f o r m a t i o n c o n t r o l , where one i s c o n s t r a i n e d t o p r e s e n t some no-t i o n o f a proposed 'agenda', and y e t may not want t o 'giv e away' what one i s ' r e a l l y ' up t o , f o r a v a r i e t y o f re a s o n s . ) The p o i n t o f a l l t h i s i s t o make i t a b s o l u t e l y c l e a r t h a t t h e p r o d -u c t i o n o f e t h n o g r a p h i c d a t a i s an a c t i v i t y i n t h e w o r l d and a v a i l a b l e f o r e x a m i n a t i o n . The ethnographer's problem i s not s i m p l y t o t u r n i n f o r -mants ' a c c o u n t s o f an a c t i v i t y i n t o a s o c i o l o g i c a l l y i n t e r e s t i n g a ccount o f t h a t a c t i v i t y , and a t t h e same time t o g u a r a n t e e some f a c t u a l c o r r e s -pondance between t h e two a c c o u n t s . As H a r o l d G a r f i n k e l o f f h a n d e d l y r e -marked, t h e r e a r e no t i m e - o u t s , which i s a way o f o f f e r i n g t h e phenomen-o l o g i c a l f i n d i n g about s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e t h a t a l l o f i t i s i n the w o r l d , which though ' o b v i o u s ' enough, i s not t h e i m p l i c i t view t a k e n by s c o r e s o f r e s e a r c h e r s , e.g., t h e s o c i o l o g i s t who has a l i s t o f it e m s c o n s t i t u t -i n g human b e h a v i o u r which he s e l e c t s from as c a t e g o r i e s when o b s e r v i n g items o f human b e h a v i o r and a s s i g n i n g t o t h e s e i t e m s , s a y , n u m e r i c a l v a l -u e s , a l l o f which i s done and j u s t i f i e d as ' o b j e c t i v e ' independent o f the meanings o f e v e n t s as e x p e r i e n c e d by p e r s o n s i n a c t u a l s e t t i n g s . T r a n s -f o r m i n g G a r f i n k e l ' s remark from a p h i l o s o p h i c a l statement t o a s o c i o l o g -i c a l o p e r a t i o n , we have t h e r u l e t h a t e t h n o g r a p h i c d a t a i s g e n e r a t a b l e by making t h e o b v i o u s p r o b l e m a t i c , t h a t i s , as we i n c r e a s i n g l y t r e a t t h e t a k e n - f o r - g r a n t e d , o r d i n a r y , r o u t i n e n e s s o f the w o r l d i n terms o f t h e pr o b l e m , how i s t h i s s i t u a t i o n s o c i a l l y p r o d u c e d , c o r r e s p o n d i n g l y l e s s and l e s s o f t h e w o r l d i s r u l e d o u t as an o b j e c t o f s o c i o l o g i c a l s c r u t i n y . In t h e f o l l o w i n g b i t o f d a t a we f i n d t h a t e v i d e n c e o f t h e p r e p a r a t i o n o r ' r e h e a r s i n g ' a l l u d e d t o above i s made v i s i b l e i n the t a l k o f t h e a c t i v -i t y . However, t h a t ' s n o t my p r i n c i p a l i n t e r e s t i n d i s p l a y i n g t h e opening segment o f my i n t e r v i e w w i t h t h e c o r o n e r . I n a d d i t i o n t o d i s p l a y i n g t h e ' r e h e a r s a l s ' f o r t h e i n t e r v i e w , I o f f e r t h e double column o f i n t e r v i e w 34. t r a n s c r i p t and ' d e s c r i p t i v e n o t e s ' t o h i n t a t t h e i n t e n s i v e methods o f ' c o n v e r s a t i o n a l m i c r o - a n a l y s i s ' t h a t become a v a i l a b l e g i v e n t h e p e r s p e c -t i v e I've a d o p t e d . Both columns, f u r t h e r m o r e , can be t r e a t e d as p r o b l e m a t i c i n t h e i r own r i g h t . S o c i o l i n g u i s t s would no doubt w i s h t o make a g r e a t d e a l more o f t h e t r a n s c r i p t column, r a i s i n g such m a k i n g - t h e - o b v i o u s - p r o b l e m a t i c q u e s t i o n s as how c o u l d one a c c o m p l i s h t r a n s f o r m i n g a t a p e i n t o a w r i t t e n t r a n s c r i p t r e a s o n a b l y ? Or how does t h e t r a n s c r i b e r d e c i d e ( t h a t i s , what i m p l i c i t r u l e s o f t r a n s c r i p t i o n does he apply) t o omit o r i n c l u d e n o n - l e x i g r a p h i c items l i k e 'uh* and 'mmm'? My p o i n t h e r e i s not t o c l a i m some v i r t u e s f o r the t r a n s c r i p t , but t o s a y , g i v e n t h e s t a t e o f the t r a n s c r i p t as i t i s , l o o k a t how r i c h a s e t o f d e s c r i p t i v e n o t e s are p o s s i b l e . On t h e o t h e r s i d e o f the column, one c o u l d v e r y r e a s o n a b l y s a y , i f the c o r o n e r ' s remarks c o n s t i t u t e a f i r s t account o f h i s a c t i v i t y and i f t h e d e s c r i p t i v e notes c o n s t i t u t e a second a c c o u n t o f t h e a c t i v i t y which i n c l u d e s an a c c o u n t o f how t h e c o r o n e r shapes h i s a c c o u n t , what's t o p r e -v e n t a t h i r d p e r s o n coming a l o n g and c o n s t r u c t i n g y e t another a c c o u n t which i n c l u d e s an account o f how t h e r e s e a r c h e r f o r m u l a t e s h i s account o f how t h e i n f o r m a n t f o r m u l a t e s h i s a c c o u n t . The answer i s , n o t h i n g p r e -v e n t s t h a t from h a p p e n i n g . B e f o r e the r e a d e r g i v e s way t o d e s p a i r a t t h e p r o s p e c t o f t h e s e i n f i n i t e a c c o u n t s , l e t me r e a s s u r i n g l y r e p o r t t h a t i n a c t u a l a n a l y t i c work we've found t h a t t h e p o t e n t i a l problem o f i n f i n i t e r e g r e s s t ends t o d i s s o l v e , not m e r e l y out o f our own boredom w i t h such a p r o c e d u r e , b u t because the s u c c e s s i v e a c c o u n t s t e n d t o g e n e r a t e i n c r e a s -i n g l y redundant f i n d i n g s . Our c l a i m i s t h a t a n a l y t i c e x a m i n a t i o n by t h i s p r o c e d u r e y i e l d s f r u i t f u l r e s u l t s . F u r t h e r , the v i a b i l i t y o f the d e s c r i p t i v e n o t e s column (which i s a s t a g e i n the p r o d u c t i o n o f f i n d i n g s ) i s , we c l a i m , not sim-35. [ p l y amenable t o some p a r t i c u l a r c o n v e r s a t i o n a l d a t a , b u t i s a p r o c e d u r e which can be g e n e r a l l y a p p l i e d t o a l l d a t a . Any c o n v e r s a t i o n can be c u t ' i n t o and t r e a t e d i n t h i s way: o b v i o u s 'mundaneity' o r o b v i o u s absence o f ' i n f o r m a t i o n ' i s not an o b s t a c l e . As c o n v e r s a t i o n a l a n a l y s t s have demon-s t r a t e d , a s i m p l e ' h e l l o - h e l l o ' c o n v e r s a t i o n can t e l l us a g r e a t d e a l about how p e o p l e c o n s t r u c t t h e i r d a i l y l i v e s . S i n c e t h i s l e v e l o f c o n v e r s a t i o n a l t r e a t m e n t w i l l n o t be t h e p r i m a r y mode o f p r o c e e d i n g i n t h i s r e p o r t - a l t h o u g h , i f one wants t o l o o k a t what goes on i n a c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , e x t e n s i v e a n a l y s i s a t t h i s l e v e l would be v e r y u s e f u l - I f e e l o b l i g a t e d t o o f f e r a t l e a s t a sample o f t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s t h a t a r e l o g i c a l l y e n t a i l e d by t h e methods I'm u s i n g . L e t ' s c o n s i d e r , t h e n , the o p e n i n g segment o f t h i s i n t e r v i e w : d e s c r i p t i v e n o t e s 1. The c o r o n e r i s d i s p l a y i n g , c a s u a l l y , a c a s e f i l e , presumably t h e 'one h e r e1 r e f e r r e d t o , i n the sense o f i t s b e i n g an a r t i f a c t , as w e l l as an e x i s t i n g 'problem The i n t e r v i e w e r h e a r s t h e 'what i t i s ' as meaning something l i k e 'what c a t e g o r y o f d e a t h i t i s ' . 2. The i n t e r v i e w e r ' s l a u g h i s h i s a t -t e n d i n g t o t h e p r e v i o u s u t t e r a n c e , t r e a t -i n g i t as a j o k e , o f t h e o r d e r : h e r e i s the o n l y e x p e r t on t h i s m a t t e r s a y i n g he w ishes t h e r e were an e x p e r t a v a i l a b l e ; r a t h e r t h a n h e a r i n g i t as a r e q u e s t f o r h e l p . T h a t i s , the i n t e r v i e w e r d o e s n ' t propose h i m s e l f as an e x p e r t i n t h i s mat-t e r . 'I've g o t t h i s o n ' i s t h e i n t e r v i e w -e r ' s f o r m u l a t i o n o f h i s a c t o f h a v i n g t u r n e d the t a p e - r e c o r d e r on a second b e f o r e , which he g e s t u r e s t o . 3. The i n t e r v i e w e r ' r e a d s ' t h i s remark o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s as not s i m p l y acknowledg ment o f a f a c t u a l e v e n t ( t u r n i n g on a r e -c o r d e r ) but as an ' a p p r o v a l ' o r 'permis-t a p e d t r a n s c r i p t i o n A. 1. C o r o n e r : I g o t one h e r e I w i s h somebody would t e l l me what i t i s . . 2. I n t e r v i e w e r : (laughs) L e t ' s s e e , I've g o t t h i s on. C: Yeah. 36. s i o n ' o f r e c o r d i n g t h e i n t e r v i e w , o r as a f i n a l w a i v i n g o f h i s r i g h t n o t t o have t h e i n t e r v i e w r e c o r d e d (the p e r m i s s i o n t o r e -c o r d h a v i n g been s e c u r e d i n t h e ' p r e - i n t e r -v i e w ' ) . T h i s sense o f ' r i g h t s ' seems t o de-r i v e not so much from l e g a l n o t i o n s t h a t e v e n t u a t e i n , s a y , w i r e t a p p i n g l a w s , o r even from s e m i - c o d i f i e d r u l e s o f 'pro-f e s s i o n a l e t h i c s ' i n s o c i o l o g y , b u t from u n f o r m u l a t e d n o t i o n s o f ' p r i v a c y ' p e r v a -s i v e i n t h e s o c i e t y . 4. I: And, I have some t h i n g s - some q u e s t i o n s t o ask you t o s t a r t w i t h t h a t a r e v e r y s i m p l e . 5. C: Yeah, go ahead. 4,5. These u t t e r a n c e s c a n be h e a r d s t r u c t u r a l l y as the ' p r o p o s a l ' and 'per-m i s s i o n ' f o r t h e i n t e r v i e w t o ' s t a r t ' , i n s o f a r as i t i s u n d e r s t o o d by the p a r -t i c i p a n t s t o be an a c t i v i t y o f q u e s t i o n s -and-answers. We see t h a t w i t h r e s p e c t t o ' s t a r t i n g ' an a c t i v i t y , t h e c o n s i d e r a t i o n t h a t some a c t i v i t i e s have a ' s t a r t e r ' , e.g., someone a u t h o r i z e d t o s a y , "I de-c l a r e t h i s m e eting opened", p o i n t s t o t h e ' n e g o t i a t e d ' , y e t se m i - f o r m a l c h a r a c t e r o f t h i s ' s t a r t ' . I'm n o t , o f c o u r s e , c l a i m i n g t h a t t h i s i s a g e n e r a l f e a t u r e o f i n t e r v i e w i n g , b u t s i m p l y l o o k i n g a t t h i s i n s t a n c e . I mean ' n e g o t i a t e d ' as opposed, s a y , t o the s t a r t o f a c a s u a l c o n v e r s a t i o n where a ' h e l l o ' s u f f i c e s t o commence the a c t i v i t y . I n u t t e r a n c e 4 t h e i n t e r v i e w e r d i s p l a y s h i s 'having some q u e s t i o n s ' which he has p r e p a r e d . T h i s i s what I mean by an e v i d e n c e o f r e h e a r s i n g o r p r e p a r i n g . L a t e r i n the c o n v e r s a t i o n , a t segment B. 4, t h e i n t e r v i e w e r i n t r o d u c e s a p r e p a r e d q u e s t i o n w i t h t h e p h r a s e "One o f the f i r s t t h i n g s t h a t I wanted t o know" which not o n l y d i s p l a y s t h i s c o r p u s o f p r e p a r e d q u e s t i o n s , b u t p r o p o s e s t h a t t h e y have some a g e n d a - l i k e o r d e r , o r t h a t t h e r e i s a s e r i e s o f p r i o r i t i e s ; o r i t may be t h a t a p p e a r i n g t o propose an agenda i s a method o f ' g e t t i n g s t a r t e d ' . 6. I: because i t t u r n e d 6. The i n t e r v i e w e r i s o f f e r i n g i n ad-ou t we knew n o t h i n g about vance some e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h e q u e s t i o n s the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e - he i s g o i n g t o a s k , and i s , p e r h a p s , 'pro-t e c t i n g ' h i s q u e s t i o n s a g a i n s t b e i n g view-ed as i n c o m p e t e n t . The 'we' r e f e r s t o pe-o p l e a t t h e u n i v e r s i t y . T h i s d i s p l a y o f 37. 7. C o r p o r a l : I don't want t o b u t t i n , j u s t g e t i t o v e r w i t h and I ' l l g e t o u t . I s t h i s J e n d r o n okay f o r r e -l e a s e then? d e f e r e n c e i s one method o f e s t a b l i s h i n g o r p r o p o s i n g a p r o f e s s i o n a l - l a y m a n r e l a t i o n -s h i p , and i n terms o f the management o f t h e i n t e r v i e w - t h a t i s , 'keeping i t g o i n g , ' a-v o i d i n g 'embarrassing s i l e n c e s ' , e t c . -i n v i t e s t h e c o r o n e r t o see t h a t whatever i t i s he has t o say w i l l be i n f o r m a t i v e g i v e n the i n t e r v i e w e r ' s s t a t e o f knowledge. 7. A t t h i s p o i n t i n t h e i n t e r v i e w , t h e c o r o n e r ' s c o r p o r a l , a member o f the Van-couver p o l i c e department a s s i g n e d t o t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , e n t e r s from an a d j o i n -i n g o f f i c e , t h a t o f the c o r o n e r ' s s e c r e t a r y , t o i n q u i r e about a c a s e . W h i l e , a t t h e time o f o c c u r r e n c e , the p a r t i c u l a r s o f t h i s b i t o f i n t e r a c t i o n weren't u n d e r s t o o d by t h e i n t e r v i e w e r ( t h a t i s , he viewed i t as an ' i n t e r r u p t i o n ' ) ; s u b s e q u e n t l y t h e i s s u e t u r n s o u t t o be: t h e c o r p o r a l wants t o know i f t h e c o r o n e r has a u t h o r i z e d t h e ' r e -l e a s e ' o f a p a r t i c u l a r body ( " t h i s J e n -dron") by the morgue t e c h n i c i a n s t o t h e agent o f a f u n e r a l p a r l o r . ' R e l e a s e ' i s t h e f i r s t t e c h n i c a l term i n t h i s o c c a s i o n and r e f e r s not o n l y t o a p e r m i s s i o n g r a n t e d by the c o r o n e r , b u t t o the s t a t e o f a p a r t i c -u l a r c a s e , i . e . , a member o f the o r g a n i z a -t i o n ' r e a d s ' the term ' r e l e a s e d ' as mean-i n g t h a t c e r t a i n p r o c e d u r e s t h a t amount t o a ' r e l e a s e ' have been c o m p l e t e d . In t h e normal r o u t i n e o f t h e o f f i c e t h e f i l e s o f c a s e s a u t h o r i z e d f o r r e l e a s e w i l l be i n the o f f i c e o f the c o r o n e r ' s s e c r e t a r y , o r i n the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e p e n d i n g h i s s i g n a t u r e o f some doauments. T h e r e f o r e " t h i s J e n -dron" can r e f e r n o t o n l y t o a body bu t a l s o t o t h e a r t i f a c t o f t h e case f i l e , whose v e r y l o c a t i o n t e l l s something about t h e s t a t u s o f t h e c a s e . T h a t i s , the p r e s e n c e o f t h e f i l e i n the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e may mean t h a t t h e r e a r e c i r c u m s t a n c e s such t h a t the body ought not t o be r e l e a s e d y e t . Thus, one p r o b a b l e c h a i n o f e v e n t s l e a d i n g t o t h i s u t t e r a n c e can be: t h e f u n e r a l p a r -l o r has c a l l e d t h e c o r o n e r ' s c o r p o r a l and asked i f t h e y can p i c k up the body; t h e c o r p o r a l , h a v i n g checked w i t h t h e s e c r e t -a r y on the s t a t u s and whereabouts o f t h e f i l e , upon l e a r n i n g i t i s i n the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , can t r e a t t he m a t t e r as problem-a t i c t o t h e e x t e n t o f c h e c k i n g w i t h t h e c o r o n e r . 8. C: Yeah, I j u s t want t o 8. Presumably, the c o r o n e r i s a c c o u n t i n g 38. t a l k about i t w i t h Mr. f o r t h e p r e s e n c e o f t h e f i l e i n h i s o f f i c e , P e r s k y . t h e r e b y h a v i n g r e n d e r e d i t s s t a t u s p r o b -l e m a t i c . That i s , h i s u t t e r a n c e seems t o say : i n t h e normal c o u r s e o f e v e n t s t h i s f i l e would have been i n a p l a c e where i t s completed s t a t u s would be v i s i b l e , b u t i n p r e p a r a t i o n f o r t h i s i n t e r v i e w , some m a t e r i a l s have been s e l e c t e d t o be on hand f o r u s a g e , t h i s f i l e among them. 9. Corp: Oh, I ' l l l e a v e 9. The c o r p o r a l ' s 'oh' i n d i c a t e s t h a t i t h e r e , b u t i f t h e r e ' s any the account o f t h i s d i s r u p t i o n o f o f f i c e i n q u i r i e s ((..;" put i t f o r r o u t i n e has been adequate f o r the p u r -r e l e a s e ) ) poses a t hand. 10. C: Yeah ( ( I ' l l g i v e i t 10. A t t h i s p o i n t , t h e c o r p o r a l l e a v e s t o you)) t h e o f f i c e . 11. I: I was f i r s t o f a l l 11. The i n t e r v i e w e r now"takes up the c u r i o u s t o know how... i n t e r r u p t e d t h r e a d o f t h e i n t e r v i e w by a g a i n r e f e r r i n g t o an agenda o f s o r t s . T hat t h e r e i s e v i d e n c e o f r e h e a r s a l s f o r a c t i v i t i e s which a r e d i s -p l a y e d by p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the a c t i v i t i e s t h e m selves i s not he r e t r e a t e d i n s t r a t e g i c t e r m s , t h a t i s , as s t r a t e g i c moves by t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s , f o r whatever r e a s o n s - t h o u g h , i n d e e d , p a r t i c i p a n t s may w i s h t o make such p r e p a r a t i o n v i s i b l e f o r pu r p o s e s o f showing themselves t o be competant members o f t h e s e t t i n g - b u t r a t h e r , I'm u s i n g the c o n v e r s a t i o n as a r e s o u r c e t h a t a l l o w s us t o s e e , i n f a c t , t h e " methods by which t h e ac-t i v i t y i s g e n e r a t e d i n t h e f i r s t p l a c e . I t i s as i f we had a f i l m frame showing the i n t e r v i e w e r , t h e c o r o n e r and t h e c o r o n e r ' s c o r p o r a l , and c o u l d , by some t e c h n i c a l p r o c e s s , move backwards t o f o l l o w each o f the p a r t i c i p a n t s t o a time b e f o r e t h e i n t e r v i e w began. As an e t h n o g r a p h i c method, t he i n s p e c t i o n o f the c o n v e r s a t i o n a l l o w s us t o t r a c e back t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s , l o c a t i n g t h e i n t e r v i e w e r drawing up a rough l i s t o f ques-t i o n s , t h e c o r o n e r s e l e c t i n g some f i l e s t o have r e a d y , and the c o r o n e r ' s c o r p o r a l b e i n g phoned by a f u n e r a l p a r l o r . In t h i s a b b r e v i a t e d b i t o f a n a l y s i s , my n o t e s p r o v i d e some ethno-g r a p h i c d e s c r i p t i o n t o ' f i l l o u t ' t h e s i t u a t i o n so t h a t t h e r e a d e r can 39. 'make sense' of the t a l k ; however, I hope that some suggestions about general properties of conversational a c t i v i t y are also a v a i l a b l e : e.g., how utterances are 'attended', how actions are formulated i n t o t a l k , how 'hearing' something as mundane as "yeah" can encompass such matters as a 'speaker's r i g h t s ' , how a c t i v i t i e s ' s t a r t ' , how t a l k i s 'managed', etc. The point of such analysis i s to display the methodically organized char-acter of what we come to take as 'ordinary' and 'for granted'. One unexpected outcome of the process of analyzing the interview that i s informative with respect to doing ethnography has to do with the r e l a -t i o n s h i p between the interview and the r e s t of the ethnographic study within t h i s establishment. In my f i r s t rough t r a n s c r i p t i o n of the i n t e r -view I had c e r t a i n p r a c t i c a l purposes i n mind (which had something to do with 'extracting information' from the interview and reassembling i t i n t o a 'coherent' p i c t u r e of the coroner's o f f i c e ) and l e f t out c e r t a i n seg-ments. What I l e f t out i s i n d i c a t i v e of my own unconscious treatment of the 'obvious': that i s , without consciously formulating some rules of se-l e c t i o n , I l e f t out those parts of the t a l k that weren't ' r e a l l y ' part of the interview, but had to do with the 'business' of i t . I t was with some surprise, coming back upon these materials at a l a t e r time, that I re-ex-amined these excluded segments to f i n d out what they were 'doing' or 'ac-complishing' i n terms of the a c t i v i t y of interviewing (and inserted them back in t o a more complete version of the t r a n s c r i p t i o n ) . I found that one of the features of t h i s occasion whose core was 'interviewing' was the arranging for and scheduling of future occasions of ethnographic work, as indicated by the following segments: ' D. 111. I: At tomorrow's - what time i s tomorrow's inquest? . .112. C: One-thirty. 113. I: One-thirty. And that's a p u b l i c inquest? 114. C: Oh sure. 40. 115. I: Is i t possible for me then to come i f I was (( )) 116. C: Sure, i f you wanna come down anytime. 117. I: I can -118. C: Sure. 119. I: And is i t a l l right to tape record or i s there some rest r i c -tion in the ... in your courtroom. 120. C: None at a l l . No. 121. I: Of course, a l l of these tape recordings w i l l be kept con-fiden t i a l . 122. C: No, that doesn't matter. As far as we're concerned this is the openest court in the land. 123. I: Mm-hmm. 124. C: For that matter, i f you want to go on the jury, you can go on the jury. 125. I: I'd be interested in doing that one of these times. 126. C: Well, suit yourself. T e l l the corporal you'll be available sometime. This won't be very long. You just go in, view the remains, and hear the doctor's (( )) . You can ask questions as a juror i f you want to and just (( ) ) . 127. I: Oh great. 128. C: You'll only be about 10-15 minutes. 129. I: At this inquest. 130. C: Yeah. 131. I: And i t starts at 1:30 in your courtroom. 132. C: Yeah, you be down here at 1:20. 133. I: I think I ' l l try to come down tomorrow and bring a machine with me. 134. C: Whatever you like to do. 135. I: I think after the man I work for hears the tape I ' l l have a lot more questions.... ***** F. 1. I: Well, thank you very much for talking to me. 2. C: Well, as you indicated yourself, you go ahead and sort of see what else you want to come back and ask me. 3. I: Right. And then I could come back at some time -4. C: Anytime -5. I: And watch the court. Or talk to you. 6. C: Oh yeah. Or interview my pathologist. 7. I: That'd be great. 8. C: I ' l l take you down, introduce you to the chemist i f you've 41. got time to t a l k with him. Within the course of t h i s one interview, the e n t i r e program of my f u -ture research was c a s u a l l y l a i d out as a contingent accomplishment made possible by having p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the 'interview'. (The above segment, l e t me note i n passing, also n i c e l y i l l u s t r a t e s a conversational property of ' r o l e - s h i f t i n g ' or what may be c a l l e d 'membershipping', i . e . , the way i n which t a l k i s oriented by one conversant to another i n terms of what mem-bership category that other person i s taken to belong t o . That i s , the cor-oner, upon hearing the interviewer's acceptance of h i s i n v i t a t i o n to par-t i c i p a t e i n an inquest, begins t a l k i n g to the interviewer as a p o t e n t i a l 'juror'. I was to hear s i m i l a r conversations between members of the cor-oner's s t a f f and p o t e n t i a l p a r t i c i p a n t s (witnesses and jurors) i n inquests as a method of managing the somewhat tenuous matter of staging an inquest, i n which the p o t e n t i a l p a r t i c i p a n t was o f f e r e d a 'formulation' of the ac-t i v i t y i n such a way as to make i t appear ' a t t r a c t i v e ' , egg., i t s b r e v i t y ("you'll only be about 10-15 minutes") and i t s s i m p l i c i t y ("you j u s t go i n , view the remains" e t c . ) , and at the same time b u i l d i n g i n the e s t a b l i s h -ment's staging concern ("And i t s t a r t s at 1:30 i n your courtroom." "Yeah, you be;down here at 1:20.").) In D. 111-116, we see the interviewer s h i f t i n g the character of the interview from 'information gathering' ("what time i s tomorrow's i n -quest?" - "One-thirty.") to 'arranging' or 'scheduling' a further research occasion ("Is i t possible f o r me then to come..." - "Sure..."). We note i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r instance that the method the interviewer uses to make the t r a n s i t i o n i s a question which has complex implications. (Again, I'm not t r e a t i n g t h i s as a ' s t r a t e g i c ' move, but as an examination of the methods persons i n our society r e g u l a r l y employ to accomplish such things.) The question i n D. 113, "And that's a p u b l i c inquest?" has the double 42. p o s s i b i l i t y o f meaning b o t h : does y o u r i n s t i t u t i o n engage i n p u b l i c ev-e n t s , as an i n f o r m a t i o n a l m a t t e r t h a t can be s l o t t e d i n t o a s e t o f terms - p u b l i c / p r i v a t e ' - t o c h a r a c t e r i z e p a r t i c u l a r a c t i v i t i e s o f t h e i n s t i t -u t i o n , and a l s o , i s yo u r i n q u e s t open t o the p u b l i c and t h e r e f o r e , am I , as a member o f t h e c a t e g o r y 'the p u b l i c ' p e r m i t t e d t o a t t e n d , as a m a t t e r o f s c h e d u l i n g f u r t h e r r e s e a r c h o c c a s i o n s . U l t i m a t e l y , t h e ' p e r m i s s i o n ' t o come t o t h e i n q u e s t d e v e l o p s i n t o a s e r i e s o f i n v i t a t i o n s t o s i t on t h e j u r y , conduct subsequent i n t e r v i e w s w i t h t h e c o r o n e r and h i s p a t h o l o g i s t , g e t i n t r o d u c e d t o t h e c h e m i s t , e t c . ( A g a i n , we can note an i m p l i c i t membershipping t r a n s f o r m a t i o n . I n a s e n s e , the p e r m i s s i o n t o a t t e n d an i n q u e s t i s i m p e r s o n a l , i n t h a t t h e p e r m i s s i o n i s a c c o r d e d t o 'you as a member o f the p u b l i c ' and would be a c c o r d e d t o 'anyone' who was such a p e r s o n , whereas, t h e i n v i t a t i o n a l remarks a r e ad-d r e s s e d t o 'you as a r e s e a r c h e r ' . ) What I've been p o i n t i n g t o i n examining t h e s t r u c t u r e o f an i n t e r -view as a s o c i a l l y o r g a n i z e d event i s i t s ' p e r f o r m a t i v e ' c h a r a c t e r . That i s , we see the i n t e r v i e w as an o c c a s i o n f o r the p r o d u c t i o n o f i n f o r m a t i o n by means o f questions-and-answers and an o c e a s i o n which p e r m i t s t h e 'se e k i n g p e r m i s s i o n ' , ' g e t t i n g i n v i t e d ' , a r r a n g i n g , and s c h e d u l i n g o f o t h e r o c c a s i o n s . I n s h o r t , i n t h i s i n t e r v i e w we have d i s p l a y e d an i n s t a n c e o f t h e r e s e a r c h e r g a i n i n g g e n e r a l 'access t o the r e s e a r c h s e t t i n g ' . F u r -t h e r , seen i n t h e c o n t e x t o f the ' r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t ' t h e ' i n t e r v i e w ' c a n be seen t o p e r f o r m t h e a c t i o n o f ' i n i t i a t i n g t h e p r o j e c t ' . i 43. P a r t I I MATERIALS f o r an Ethnography o f t h e S o c i a l O r g a n i z a t i o n o f t h e C o r o n e r ' s O f f i c e 44. 1. C o r o n e r ' s F o r m u l a t i o n s I want t o t u r n t o an a n a l y s i s o f t h e i n i t i a l i n t e r v i e w w i t h t h e c o r -o n e r , where my o r i g i n a l i n t e n t i o n (as f o r m u l a t e d f o r m y s e l f i n r a t h e r vague terms) was t o 'get an i d e a ' o f what went on and s i m u l t a n e o u s l y (through the i n t e r v i e w as a ' p e r f o r m a t i v e ' a c t i v i t y - t h a t i s , an a c t i v -i t y which can be r e c o g n i z e d and d e s c r i b e d as an ' i n t e r v i e w ' c a n a l s o , i n the c o n t e x t o f , e.g., 'a r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t ' be seen t o 'perform' t h e 'ac-t i o n ' o f ' i n i t i a t i n g ' , t e r m i n a t i n g ' , ' f u r t h e r i n g t h e p r o j e c t ' , e t c . ) t o i n i t i a t e my r e s e a r c h . I w i s h , a t t h e o u t s e t , t o a b s t r a c t a s e r i e s o f ' f o r m u l a t i o n s ' o f what t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s by s i m p l y a t t e n d i n g , c h r o n -o l o g i c a l l y , t o t h e s y n t a c t i c and c o n c e p t u a l l o g i c o f t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n . Such an e x e r c i s e has t h e d u a l f u n c t i o n o f , i n d e e d , c o n s t r u c t i n g an ' i d e a ' o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s a c t i v i t i e s and i m p l i c i t l y examining e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l p r o -c e d u r e s . ( I t i s f a i r t o say t h a t t h e a c t i v i t y o f ' f i n d i n g o u t how we f i n d o u t ' was a l w a y s , i n t h e c o u r s e o f the r e s e a r c h , an i n s e p a r a b l e a s p e c t o f the p r o j e c t . Perhaps t h i s p o i n t s h o u l d be emphasized. I want t o p r e s e n t a p o r t r a i t o f the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e c o n t a i n i n g some e v i d e n t i a l c r i t e r i a whereby t h e c l a i m s I make about i t s d o i n g s a r e ' t e s t a b l e ' by subsequent r e s e a r c h e r s . S e c o n d l y , I'm committed, by my t h e o r e t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e , t o the r e f l e x i v e a c t i v i t y o f a n a l y z i n g the p r o c e d u r e s I use t o c o n s t r u c t s uch a p o r t r a i t . ) The v e r y e x i s t e n c e o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , o f c o u r s e , p r o v i d e s some m e t a - f o r m u l a t i o n s about i t . That I can f i n d i t i n t h e phonebook, speak t o p e r s o n n e l who i n answering t h e phone e x p l i c i t l y i d e n t i f y i t as 'the Cor-oner's o f f i c e ' , v i s i t i t , and so t o speak, 'map' i t , y i e l d s t h e f o r m u l a -t i o n t h a t t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e (as a s e t o f p r a c t i c e s i n our s o c i e t y ) i s g e o g r a p h i c a l l y l o c a t a b l e . Though I don't propose t o undertake the t a s k 45. h e r e , an e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e s p e c i f i c s o f i t s g e o g r a p h i c a l l o c a t a b i l i t y -e.g., t h a t i t i s a l o c a t i o n 'open t o t h e p u b l i c ' and y e t a r r a n g e d i n1 such a way t h a t p u b l i c a c c e s s i b i l i t y t o v a r i o u s p o r t i o n s o f i t s t e r r i t o r y a r e 'monitored' by p e r s o n n e l and s i g n s g e o g r a p h i c a l l y l o c a t e d i n an i n t e n t i o n a l way - s h o u l d assuage t h e s u s p i c i o n t h a t a f o r m u l a t i o n o f such g e n e r a l i z a -b i l i t y i s n e c e s s a r i l y t r i v i a l . However, l e a v i n g a s i d e t h a t range o f meta-f o r m u l a t i o n s ( i n c l u d i n g t h e one t h a t t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s an a c t i v i t y w herein t h e c o r o n e r can p r o v i d e f o r m u l a t i o n s o f i t ) , I b e g i n ( i n u t t e r a n c e B. 1) w i t h t h e s o l e a ssumptive f o r m u l a t i o n t h a t t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s a p l a c e 'where (dead) b o d i e s come'. By 'assumptive f o r m u l a t i o n ' I mean t h a t r a t h e r t h a n a s k i n g 'do b o d i e s come h e r e ? ' . I f o r m u l a t e a q u e s t i o n t h a t i n -c l u d e s t h e p r o p o s a l t h a t b o d i e s do come t h e r e and I r e a d i n the c o r o n e r ' s 'normal' t r e a t m e n t o f the q u e s t i o n t h a t t h e assumption i s w a r r a n t e d ( t h a t i s , t h e q u e s t i o n i s n e i t h e r ' c h a l l e n g e d ' as a q u e s t i o n w i t h something l i k e 'what do you mean?' nor i s t h e i m p l i c i t p r o p o s a l d i r e c t l y t r e a t e d i n the form o f , s a y , a ' c o r r e c t i o n ' , e.g., 'oh no, we don't r e c e i v e b o d i e s a t a l l , we s i m p l y h a n d l e t h e paperwork h e r e ' ) . From t h a t assumption I d e r i v e t h e f o l l o w i n g . 1. The c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s . a p l a c e t h a t , ' i n t h e main', r e c e i v e s dead b o d i e s when an ' a t t e n d i n g p h y s i c i a n i s u n a b l e , f o r a v a r i e t y o f r e a s o n s , t o s i g n t h e d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e ' ( B . 2 ) . The s i m p l e l o g i c o f t h a t u t t e r a n c e can be c a t e g o r i z e d as f o l l o w s : b o d i e s come t o the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e because a . p h y s i c i a n s a r e b . o t h e r r e a s o n s , not 'unable' t o s i g n y e t s p e c i f i e d d e a t h . c e r t i f i c a t e I'm a b l e t o p o s t u l a t e c a t e g o r y 'b.' on the grounds o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s u t -t e r a n c e o f t h e p h r a s e ' i n t h e main' which l o g i c a l l y p e r m i t s t h e assump-t i o n t h a t t h e r e a r e o t h e r t h a n 'main' r e a s o n s o r c i r c u m s t a n c e s under which •46. b o d i e s a r r i v e . S u b s e q u e n t l y , I w i l l t r a n s f o r m t h i s f i r s t f o r m u l a t i o n i n t o a r e s e a r c h problem i t s e l f , a t t e m p t i n g t o d i s c o v e r what the ' v a r i e t y o f rea-s o n s ' a r e t h a t make a p h y s i c i a n 'unable' t o s i g n . XSee s e c t i o n 3.) 2. The c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e engages i n c e r t a i n p r a c t i c e s i n v o l v i n g a ' r e g i s t r a t i o n o f d e a t h ' c e r t i f i c a t e (see e x h i b i t 1). which p o s s i b l y i n c l u d e the ' p r o d u c t i o n ' o f ' i n f o r m a t i o n ' f o r t h a t f orm. The c o r o n e r p r o p o s e s t h a t such i n f o r m a t i o n i s demanded by the s o c i e t y and i n so d o i n g i m p l i c i t l y p r o v i d e s a f o r m u l a t i o n ' l o c a t i n g ' t h e document he's r e f e r r e d t o i n a n e t -work o f s o c i a l i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p s ( t h a t i s , t h e l o g i c o f h i s u t t e r a n c e s p o s i t s a ' r e l e v a n t ' s o c i a l w o r l d - one t h a t c o n d i t i o n s and a f f e c t s h i s work) which can be c r u d e l y r e p r e s e n t e d as f o l l o w s : 1. dead body r e q u i r e s 2. ' ' i n f o r m a t i o n ' f o r 3. R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death c e r t i f i c a t e w h ich i s ' a c c e p t e d ' by 4. ' V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s ' who i s s u e a 5. 'permit t o b u r y o r cremate' which p e r m i t s 'you' t o •dispose' o f t h e 6. dead body To which we may add, t h a t under c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s , the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s i n v o l v e d i n s t e p s 1-3. F u r t h e r , i n t h e s e u t t e r a n c e s (B. 4-9) t h e ' i n f o r m a t i o n ' t o be p r o -duced i s r o u g h l y c h a r a c t e r i z e d as t o p i c a l l y i n v o l v i n g ' d i s e a s e o r c o n d i t i o n d i r e c t l y l e a d i n g t o d e a t h ' , 'antecedant c a u s e s ' and answering such ques-48. t i o n s as 'was t h e r e an autopsy?'.. 3. The c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e h a n d l e s ' c a s e s ' o t h e r t h a n t h o s e f o r m u l a t e d i n p a r a g r a p h 1 above (B. 1 0 ) . I t i s p r o p o s e d t h a t one c a t e g o r y o f ' o t h e r ' i s ' t r a u m a t i c d e a t h s ' o f which i n s t a n c e s o f s u b - c a t e g o r i e s a r e c i t e d . C o n v erse-l y - a g a i n by l o g i c a l d e r i v a t i o n - we can i n f e r t h a t the c a s e s r e f e r r e d t o i n f o r m u l a t i o n 1 a r e not ' t r a u m a t i c d e a t h s ' . Thus the f i r s t f o r m u l a t i o n can be r e v i s e d : b o d i e s come t o the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e because a . t h e y a r e deaths f o r which p h y s i c i a n s are unable t o s i g n d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e b . o f o t h e r r e a s o n s (1) t r a u m a t i c deaths (2): o t h e r s , u n s p e c i f i e d (a) a u t o m o b i l e c o l l i s i o n (b) 'sus-p e c t e d p o i -s o n i n g ' (c) 'suspec-t e d i n f e c t i o u s d i s e a s e ' I t i s s y n t a c t i c a l l y u n c l e a r whether f o r m u l a t i o n s 3.b.(1)(b) and (c) a r e t o be t r e a t e d as s u b - c a t e g o r i e s o f ' t r a u m a t i c d e a t h ' o r as sub-catego-r i e s o f 3 . b . ( 2 ) . 4. I n B. 12-16 i t i s p r o p o s e d t h a t t h e c o r o n e r ' s q f f i c e i s ' a l s o ' a p l a c e where b o d i e s come when 'the neighborhood i s u p s e t ' o r 'everyone g e t s alarmed as t o what the cause o f death was'. Without f o l l o w i n g o u t t h i s l i n e a n a l y t i c a l l y , I r e a d t h e s e u t t e r a n c e s as t h e c o r o n e r ' s f o r m u l a t i o n o f h i s o f f i c e as a ' p u b l i c g u a r d i a n ' . G r a p h i c r e p r e s e n t a t i o n becomes d i f f i c u l t a t t h i s p o i n t because a l l the l o g i c a l p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f d e p i c t i o n a r e not cov-e r e d ( e . g . , i t ' s not c l e a r whether a case i n which the 'neighborhood i s u p s e t ' r e f e r s t o t r a u m a t i c o r n o n - t r a u m a t i c d e a t h o r whether a p h y s i c i a n i s a b l e o r unable t o s i g n t he Death R e g i s t r a t i o n form.) (5. A g a i n , w i t h o u t p u r s u i n g i n a n a l y t i c d e t a i l t h e l o g i c o f u t t e r a n c e s B. 18-24, t h e c o r o n e r argues f o r l i m i t s o f t h e c o n d i t i o n s under which doc-49. t o r s should be permitted to sign c e r t i f i c a t e s , and buttresses h i s contention with a claim of 'evidence' procured by a fellow coroner as to ' f a u l t s ' com-mitted by physicians i n ' s u f f i c i e n t l y ' determining causes of 'natural death'. Although the term 'natural death' i s introduced at t h i s point along with a range of '150 i n t e r n a t i o n a l causes of death with are accepted', w e ' l l post-pone, f o r the moment, the construction of a representation that w i l l give these terms content. I take i t that these remarks supplement the preceding suggestions about the 'public guardian' character of the i n s t i t u t i o n . More generally, however, t h i s segment suggests that the whole business of deter-mining causes of deaths i s a somewhat problematic a f f a i r - and operating with some p r e s c r i p t i v e assumptions about 'correct a t t r i b u t i o n s ' versus ' f a u l t s ' , and ' s u f f i c i e n t ' as opposed to ' i n s u f f i c i e n t ' determinations - the coroner proposes a rule-governed model of how a t t r i b u t i o n s of cause ought to be s o c i a l l y organized. I t ' s not unreasonable to ask, given that i t ' s a 'na-t u r a l death' as opposed to an 'unnatural' one, why go to any further trouble i n l o c a t i n g exactly the 'organ' or 'organ system' involved? In f a c t , sub-sequently i n the research, I found members of the coroner's o f f i c e asking such questions with respect to c e r t a i n sub-categories of the dead, such as extremely e l d e r l y persons who 'obviously' had 'heart conditions'. Doing autopsies i n such cases, i t was suggested, was ' r e a l l y unncessary' and i t was proposed that some arrangement be made with V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s to permit the waiving of such work. The e n t i r e question of cause of death and i t s common-sense formulations (e.g. , 'what di d he die from, doctor?") suggests a whole area of s o c i o l o g i c a l l y - b a s e d p h i l o s o p h i c a l i n v e s t i g a t i o n that re-volves around some very basic conceptions held by the society about 'what i t i s people want to know'.) 6. In utterance B. 25 and following (in which, by the way, the term 'DOA' i s troduced - which means 'dead on a r r i v a l ' and i s used by h o s p i t a l s 50. and c o r o n e r s ' o f f i c e s i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h r e c o r d i n g t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s s u r -r o u n d i n g t h e a c t i v i t y o f 'pronouncing' a death) a f o r m u l a t i o n o f t h e c o r -o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s p roposed as a p l a c e which 'holds c a s e s ' and c a t e g o r i z e s some o f them as 'NCC ('not a c o r o n e r ' s c a s e ) . These ' n a t i v e c a t e g o r i e s ' a r e d i s p l a y e d i n use on an a r t i f a c t p roduced by the i n s t i t u t i o n (Remain i n t h e Morgue l i s t ; see e x h i b i t 2 ) . I t i s i m p l i e d t h a t t h e s t a t u s o f a body can be f o r m u l a t e d as 'NCC when a d o c t o r i n d i c a t e s h i s w i l l i n g n e s s 'to s i g n ' (B. 25-34). S u b s e q u e n t l y , t h i s f o r m u l a t i o n o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e as a p l a c e where c e r t a i n b o d i e s become NCCs when a d o c t o r w i l l s i g n the d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e w i l l be t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o a r e s e a r c h problem t h a t l o c a t e s and examines the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e ' s p r a c t i c e s o f ' s e a r c h i n g ' f o r d o c t o r s t o s i g n c e r t i f i c a t e s . I t i s now p o s s i b l e t o r e v i s e f o r m u l a t i o n 3 above. b o d i e s come t o the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e and a r e c a t e g o r i z e d as 1. Not C o r o n e r ' s Cases 2. C o r o n e r ' s Cases (when) a . d o c t o r s can be l o -c a t e d who w i l l s i g n d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e s b.? a . deaths f o r which p h y s i c i a n s a r e un-a b l e t o s i g n d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e b . o t h e r r e a s o n s o r c i r c u m s t a n c e s (1) t r a u - (2) c o r o n e r m a t i c i s r e q u i r e d l . b . i s l e f t open as a t h e o r e t i c d e a t hs t o a c t as p o s s i b i l i t y f o r such t h i n g s as ' p u b l i c 'the body was m i s t a k e n l y d e l i v e r e d ' g u a r d i a n / (a) auto (b) o t h e r s c o l l i s i o n 7. The p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e d a i l y morgue l i s t (at B. 30) o c c a s i o n s sev-e r a l a d d i t i o n a l f o r m u l a t i o n s about what t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s : a . a s t a f f o f 12-14 work under the d i r e c t i o n o f t h e C i t y C o r o n e r . b . the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e 'does' about 1200 ' a u t o p s i e s ' a n n u a l l y . c . the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e ' l a b e l s ' c a s e s as t o 'cause o f d e a t h ' . The word 'does' appears above i n quotes t o emphasise t h a t the d o i n g o f a u t o p s i e s i s an examinable a c t i v i t y - t h a t i s , we would l i k e t o i n v e s -Name Mr B i l l Bohn« Mrs T Green* Mr G. £rown. Mr John Mo Carthy. Mrs F Edmonson. Mr W T r o t t e r . Bett/ Shepherd. Mr S Mao Donald* 'type Collapse* A l o , N C C GSW Head (Suioide). Posa Heart*. N C C N Y D Collapse. • Homioide. N C C auto p sy remarks ;•. Done . Dr Edgar to s i g n . Done. ' Done, . . ; Dr Edgar to s i g n , *• B e l . Done',' Hold* Dr 7-L Skinner to s i g n , R e l , LO'.YER MORGUE, TAILOR. Autopsies Performed By Dr 0 Brammall. and Teoh'n Les Head. Mo Carthy da 7-30 p.m. Brown <L 8,00.p.m. 52. t i g a t e t h i s a c t i v i t y i n o r d e r t o be a b l e t o say t h a t 'the d o i n g o f an autop-sy c o n s i s t s o f t h e f o l l o w i n g p r a c t i c e s ' . L a t e r we w i l l l o o k a t s t a t i s t i c s p r o d u c e d w i t h i n t h e i n s t i t u t i o n and l e g a l documents g o v e r n i n g t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i n o r d e r t o c o n s t r u c t some a d d i t i o n a l f o r m u l a t i o n s o f the a c t i v i t i e s u n d e r t a k e n . (Let me r e p e a t something h i n t e d a t e a r l i e r i n the t h e o r e t i c a l s e c t i o n : o u r p r o d u c t i o n o f v a r i o u s f o r m u l a t i o n s o f t h e a c t i v i t y i s n o t i n -tended f o r t h e purpose o f u l t i m a t e l y s e l e c t i n g one f o r m u l a o v e r a n o t h e r as more ' a c c u r a t e ' o r 'comprehensive' but r a t h e r t o d i s p l a y t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p o f v a r i o u s f o r m u l a t i o n s t o t h e p r a c t i c e s engaged i n t h e c o u r s e o f d a i l y work, o r , where the f o r m u l a t i o n s a r e ' a n a l y t i c a l l y ' r a t h e r t h a n ' n a t i v e l y ' p r o d u c e d , t o i - l u m i n a t e some o b s e r v a t i o n a l g e n e r a l i z a t i o n about t h e i n s t i t -u t i o n . ) 8. With r e s p e c t t o t h e a c t i v i t y o f p r o v i d i n g a ' l a b e l * f o r 'each dead body t h a t comes w i t h i n y o u r p u r v i e w ' , from an i n s p e c t i o n o f u t t e r a n c e s B. 49 f f . and D. 51 f f . , t h e f o l l o w i n g r e p r e s e n t a t i o n c a n be a b s t r a c t e d as an a d d i t i o n t o the f o r m u l a t i o n o f p a r a g r a p h 6. NCC Co r o n e r ' s Cases (are each l a b e l l e d ) a l l d e a t h s f o r 'medical c a u s e ' U n n a t u r a l d e a ths ' c l a s s i f i e d ' Homicide S u i c i d e A c c i d e n t o r C o r o n e r ' s Cases ' N a t u r a l ' Deaths ' U n n a t u r a l ' , ' V i o l e n t ' o r 'Traumatic'deaths l a b e l l e d f o r 'medical c a u s e ' l a b e l l e d f o r 'medical c a u s e ' and c l a s s i f i e d as e i t h e r Homicide S u i c i d e A c c i d e n t 53. These a l t e r n a t i v e f o r m u l a t i o n s a r e o f f e r e d t o i n d i c a t e t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f examining a c t u a l i n s t a n c e s o f ' l a b e l l i n g ' w i t h a view toward n o t i c i n g any s i g n i f i c a n t o r d e r i n g w i t h i n t h a t a c t i v i t y . 9. The s u g g e s t i o n i n p a r a g r a p h 2 above t h a t t h e c o r o n e r engages i n th e p r o d u c t i o n o f c e r t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n i s e l a b o r a t e d upon i n u t t e r a n c e B. 62 as t h e req u i r e m e n t t h a t t h e c o r o n e r produce ^ i n f o r m a t i o n f o r items 22-28 o f t h e Death R e g i s t r a t i o n form i n c a s e s i n v o l v i n g h i s o f f i c e , f o l l o w e d by a f o r m u l a t i o n o f p r a c t i c e s engaged i n by h i s o f f i c e which would c o n s t i t u t e t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n . (Again l e t me remind t h e r e a d e r t h a t my l i n g u i s t i c usages - e.g., t h e p e r s p e c t i v e t h a t ' i n f o r m a t i o n ' and 'causes o f d e a t h ' a r e 'produced' by p r o c e d u r e s r a t h e r t h a n s i m p l y ' g o t t e n ' o r ' s c i -e n t i f i c a l l y d e t e r m i n e d ' - i s meant t o emphasise t h e o p e r a t i o n a l c h a r a c t e r o f emerging d e f i n i t i o n s . ) In each case h e r e , t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f a f o r m u l a t i o n w i l l have t o be t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o a r e s e a r c h p r o b l e m . F o r example, when, i n B. 66, t h e c o r o n -e r p r o p o s e s t h a t a 'cause o f d e a t h ' i s p a r t i a l l y p roduced by an ' i n v e s t i -g a t i o n ' , t h e r e s e a r c h e r w i l l want t o l o o k a t t h o s e p r o c e d u r e s which g e t t o be c a l l e d 'an i n v e s t i g a t i o n " . A l t h o u g h t h e c o r o n e r h i m s e l f o f f e r s a d e f i n -i t i o n o f what an ' i n v e s t i g a t i o n ' c o n s i s t s i n , we w i l l want t o l o c a t e and examine t h e s e a c t i v i t i e s as t h e y o c c u r . (Much o f t h i s p r e s c r i p t i v e a d v i c e i s n o t u n d e r t a k e n by t h i s r e p o r t , which has the main purpose o f p r o v i d i n g a s y s t e m a t i c p r o p o s a l f o r an ethnography o f t h i s p u b l i c o f f i c e . ) Thus f a r , t h e f o l l o w i n g r e p o r t o r i a l summary o f the c o r o n e r ' s d e s c r i p -t i o n o f what h i s o f f i c e does can be c o n s t r u c t e d : The c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s an i n s t i t u t i o n t h a t h a n d l e s , on a r e g u l a r ba-s i s , v a r i a u s dead b o d i e s , and a l s o c o l l e c t s i n f o r m a t i o n and i n v e s t i g a t e s c a ses t o determine cause and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f d e a t h f o r the purpose o f p r e p a r i n g t h e m e d i c a l s e c t i o n o f R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death f o r m s , w i t h o u t w h i c h , 54. by law, b o d i e s c a n ' t be d i s p o s e d o f . In i t s f u n c t i o n as a h a n d l e r o f t h e dead, t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e r e -c e i v e s , s t o r e s , p erforms a u t o p s i e s upon, and r e l e a s e s t o f u n e r a l p a r l o r s dead b o d i e s . As an agency p r e p a r i n g c e r t a i n n e c e s s a r y documents, t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s c o n s t r a i n e d t o ' s i t u a t e ' each case w i t h i n an e s t a b l i s h e d s t r u c -t u r e o f causes and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s o f d e a t h . Not a l l b o d i e s r e c e i v e d a t the morgue become c o r o n e r ' s c a s e s . The morgue a l s o f u n c t i o n s as a p l a c e f o r h o l d i n g dead b o d i e s u n t i l i t can be determined whether o r not i t i s a b o r o n e r ' s c a s e . ' I t ' s t h e case t h a t t h e h a n d l i n g o f the dead i n our s o c i e t y i s a r r a n g e d such t h a t i n many c a s e s ( i n f a c t , i n most) d o c t o r s are p e r m i t t e d and w i l l i n g t o p r e p a r e the docu-ments t h a t a r e p r e - r e q u i s i t e t o the d i s p o s a l o f a body. Upon r e c e i p t o f b o d i e s , t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e o f t e n engages i n a s e a r c h f o r a d o c t o r who w i l l be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r such d o c u m e n t a t i o n , and i n t h o s e c a s e s where t h e s e a r c h t u r n s up a d o c t o r , t h e body becomes r e c o r d e d as 'Not a C o r o n e r ' s Case' and t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e i s m o s t l y l i m i t e d t o h o l d i n g t h e body u n t i l c o l l e c t e d by a f u n e r a l p a r l o r . T h u s , we g e t the f o l l o w i n g g e n e r a l p i c t u r e o f the s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n o f the h a n d l i n g o f the dead. Most deaths ( i n u t t e r a n c e G. 6, t h e c o r o n e r p r o p o s e s t h a t f o r t h e C i t y o f V a n c o u v e r , about 80%) are h a n d l e d by h o s p i -t a l s and d o c t o r s . (Sudnow, i n P a s s i n g On, p r e s e n t s a d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n o f how h o s p i t a l s a c c o m p l i s h t h i s work.) The r e s t o f the dead come t o t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e . Perhaps we s h o u l d add t h a t we a r e t a l k i n g about t h e 'known dead' and t h e ' a v a i l a b l e dead'. Most o f t h e s e become c o r o n e r ' s c a s e s . There i s a b o r e d e r l i n e group (I don't have any s t a t i s t i c s on t h i s , b u t would e s t i m a t e , on the b a s i s o f o b s e r v a t i o n , t h a t t h e r e must be a t l e a s t 200 members o f t h i s c a t e g o r y a n n u a l l y ) f o r whom t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e 55. i s s i m p l y a h o l d i n g a r e a u n t i l t h e y can be r e - r o u t e d i n t o t h e deathwork p r o c e s s t h a t h a n d l e s t h e m a j o r i t y o f c a s e s . The r e m a i n d e r , which a r e t r e a t -ed as c o r o n e r ' s c a s e s , a r e ' n a t u r a l ' deaths f o r which t h e r e i s no a t t e n d -i n g p h y s i c i a n p r e p a r e d t o s i g n the d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e o r e l s e a r e 'unnatur-a l ' d e a t h s , t h e d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f which t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e h a s , by law, a monopoly o n . With r e s p e c t t o ' n a t u r a l deaths f o r which t h e r e i s no a t t e n -d i n g p h y s i c i a n p r e p a r e d t o s i g n the d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e ' , i t i s not c l e a r i f and t o what e x t e n t t h i s c a t e g o r y can be d i v i d e d i n t o c a s e s where t h e r e i s s i m p l y no a t t e n d i n g p h y s i c i a n and t h o s e where t h e r e i s an a t t e n d i n g phys-i c i a n who, f o r some r e a s o n , c a n ' t o r won't s i g n t h e d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e . A s i g n i f i c a n t l y l e n g t h y segment o f t h e i n t e r v i e w (B. 80-154), subse-quent t o t h e i n i t i a l segment from which we d e r i v e d v a r i o u s i n i t i a l formu-l a t i o n s about the n a t u r e o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e , i s d e v o t e d t o t h e i s s u e o f s u i c i d e . I t w i l l be r e c a l l e d ( i n p a r t I above) t h a t t h e g a t h e r i n g o f ma-t e r i a l s f o r an ethnography o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e was a c o n t i n g e n t r e s u l t o f a s k i n g how t h e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f ' s u i c i d e ' i s produced w i t h i n our s o c i e t y i n a c t u a l i n s t a n c e s . The aim was t o produce a l i t e r a l a c count o f p r o c e d u r e s and s t r u c t u r e s i n t h e s o c i e t y t h a t , so t o speak, u n d e r l i e t h e l e v e l o f . a n a l y s i s which Durkheim made c l a s s i c . What I'm p r o p o s i n g t o do i s t o c h a l l e n g e the n o t i o n t h a t the c l a s s i f i -c a t i o n o f a ' s u i c i d e ' i s produced s i m p l y by a p e r s o n 'committing s u i c i d e ' . By e m p h a s i s i n g t h e s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r o f s u i c i d e , we n o t i c e t h a t t h e a c t o f s u i c i d e i s not n e c e s s a r i l y ' o b v i o u s ' , b u t r a t h e r t h a t a complex o f i d e n t i f -i e d f e a t u r e s a t t e n d a n t upon a s u s p e c t e d s u i c i d e i s what a l l o w s i d e n t i f i e r s t o i n f e r t h a t an a c t i o n i s ' s u i c i d e ' and i s ' o b v i o u s ' , and f u r t h e r we f i n d t h e ' d e f i n i t i o n s ' a v a i l a b l e which c e r t a i n a c t i o n s a r e f i t t e d i n t o a r e not p r o d u c ed by some ' o b j e c t i v e ' a b s t r a c t i o n o f s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s b u t by p r a c -56. t i c i o n e r s who a r e r e q u i r e d , as p a r t o f t h e i r d a i l y work, t o d e t ermine t h a t something i s a ' s u i c i d e ' . * F o r example, when t h e c o r o n e r i s asked ( i n B. 9 3 ) , 'How do you d e t e rmine s u i c i d e i n a t y p i c a l c a s e ? ' , he doesn't r e p l y t h a t t h e y do so by s i m p l y a t -t e n d i n g t o t h e c h a r a c t e r o f t h e a c t i o n i n v o l v e d i n the d e a t h ( f o r example, he doesn't say something l i k e , ' i f we f i n d a p e r s o n w i t h a b u l l e t i n h i s head and the gun i n h i s hand we know i t ' s a s u i c i d e ' ) b u t r a t h e r he c l a i m s t h a t t h e d e t e r m i n a t i o n i s based (at l e a s t p a r t i a l l y ) on 'statements o f i n -t e n t i o n o f s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n ' . I t ' s not my i n t e n t i o n t o e x p l o r e what i s c l e a r l y a c o m p l i c a t e d i s s u e b u t i t i s i n o r d e r t o note c e r t a i n t h i n g s . On t h e f a c e o f i t , l o g i c a l l y s p e a k i n g , i t i s r a t h e r odd t o c l a i m t h a t we d e t e rmine what a p e r s o n d i d not by l o o k i n g a t t h e i r a c t i o n s but by l o o k i n g a t t h e i r statements about t h e i r i n t e n d e d a c t i o n s . ( L o g i c a l l y t h i s i s odder t h a n l o o k i n g a t s t a t e -ments about a c t i o n s t h e y have a l r e a d y done, by t h e way.) A r a t i o n a l e f o r such a p r o c e d u r e becomes a v a i l a b l e when we h y p o t h e t i c a l l y l o o k a t c i r c u m -s t a n c e s t h a t a r e 'ambiguous': t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e r e c o r d s s e v e r a l c a s e s a n n u a l l y where the mode o f s u i c i d e ^ i s ' a l c o h o l and b a r b i t u a t e s ' . The c h a r -a c t e r i z a t i o n t h a t such a mode i s ambiguous i s made on the grounds o f ex-a mining t h e s t a t i s t i c a l document 'Coroner's Cases - 1969' (see s e c t i o n 2) where we f i n d ' a l c o h o l and b a r b i t u a t e s ' as t h e mode o f 24 f a t a l a c c i d e n t s and 10 s u i c i d e s . ( C o n t r a s t t h i s t o t h e 'unambiguous' s u i c i d a l mode o f 'jumping'; we f i n d i n t h e same document 10 s u i c i d e s by 'jumping', b u t no a c c i d e n t s v i a jumps. Of c o u r s e , t h i s i s not a s i m p l e m a t t e r e i t h e r , i n t h a t we f i n d more t h a n 40 a c c i d e n t a l deaths t h r o u g h ' f a l l s ' , and presumably t h e d e c i s i o n t o c a l l an a c t a ' f a l l ' o r a 'jump' i s not u n r e l a t e d t o d e c i d i n g t h a t t h e a c t i s o r i s n ' t a s u i c i d e . Perhaps more r e v e a l i n g i s 'hanging', a mode t h a t does appear b o t h i n a c c i d e n t s and s u i c i d e s b u t which s t a t i s t i -57. c a l l y i s p r e p o n d e r a n t l y a s u i c i d a l mode.) Our q u e s t i o n i s , how does t h e c o r o n e r , f a c e d w i t h a f a t a l i t y where t he mode o f d e a t h i s ' a l c o h o l and b a r b i t u a t e s ' , determine whether such a d e a t h s h o u l d - b e ' c l a s s i f i e d as an ' a c c i d e n t ' o r a ' s u i c i d e ' ? And i t i s here t h a t the r a t i o n a l e f o r ' c i r c u m s t a n t i a l e v i d e n c e ' such as ' s u i c i d e n o t e s ' , 'statements o f i n t e n t i o n ' , ' r e p o r t s o f despondancy', becomes a p p a r e n t . G i v e n such a d e a t h , t h e c i r c u m s t a n t i a l a t t e n d a n c e o f a note may be s u f f i c -i e n t grounds t o a l l o w t h e c o r o n e r t o ' r e a s o n a b l y ' c l a s s i f y t h e d e a t h as a ' s u i c i d e ' . ( F u r t h e r , I'm assuming t h a t t h e a v a i l a b i l i t y o f such m a t e r i a l has d i f f e r e n t i a l v a l u e w i t h r e s p e c t t o d i f f e r e n t modes o f s u i c i d e , so t h a t i n one c a s e such m a t e r i a l may make the d e t e r m i n a t i o n ' c e r t a i n ' , i n o t h e r c a s e s i t w i l l be ' c r u c i a l ' f o r d e c i d i n g a t a l l t h a t i t was s u i c i d e . I n a d d i t i o n , I would a l s o assume t h a t t h e o r d e r i n g by which i n f o r m a t i o n be-comes a v a i l a b l e on c a s e s i s n ot f i x e d and t h a t the v a l u e o f any p a r t i c u l a r c i r c u m s t a n t i a l m a t e r i a l i s r e l a t i v e a l s o t o t h e s t a t u s o f the ca s e a t any g i v e n time.) The c o n j e c t u r e s o f f e r e d above a r e , o f c o u r s e , o n l y t h e v a g u e s t s k e t c h f o r a r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t i n v o l v i n g t h e e x a m i n a t i o n , s a y , o f a s e t o f ca s e s where t he mode o f d e a t h i s ' a l c o h o l and b a r b i t u a t e s ' . The a t t r i b u t i o n o f a ' s u i c i d e ' d i f f e r s from a ' n a t u r a l d e a t h ' i n t h a t i n a n a t u r a l d e a t h we f i n d p e r s o n s i n v o l v e d a s k i n g , 'What d i d he d i e from?1 and b e i n g p r o v i d e d w i t h a 'medical c a u s e ' , whereas i n a s u i c i d e we f i n d p e o p l e a s k i n g n o t o n l y 'how' d i d i t happen b u t a l s o 'why d i d he do i t ? ' . A l t h o u g h you might d i s c o v e r s i m i l a r q u e s t i o n s b e i n g asked a b o u t , s a y , an auto a c c i d e n t ( e . g . , 'why d i d i t happen?') and i n f a c t , such q u e s t i o n s p r o -v i d e t h e b a s i s f o r the a t t r i b u t i o n o f 'blame' o r ' n e g l i g e n c e ' , i n a ' s u i c -i d e ' such q u e s t i o n s a r e d i r e c t e d t o an e x a m i n a t i o n o f s u b j e c t i v e i n t e n t i o n s which a r e o n l y i n f e r r a b l e w i t h v a r y i n g degrees o f c e r t a i n t y , b u t a p p a r e n t l y 58. seldom w i t h f i n a l i t y . See, f o r example, B. 86, where t he c o r o n e r r e m a r k s , 'But I don't know t h a t we can g e t any f u r t h e r t h a n when we s t a r t e d o u t w i t h t h e s e t h i n g s cause an awful l o t o f c a s e s you'd l i k e t o t a l k t o i n t h e next w o r l d as t o why the y d i d t h e s e v a r i o u s t h i n g s ' . The i s s u e o f s u i c i d e opens f o r i n v e s t i g a t i o n a wide range o f g e n e r a l f e a t u r e s i n v o l v i n g everyday r a t i o n a l i t y . L e t me o f f e r t h e b r i e f p h i l o s o p h i c s u g g e s t i o n t h a t t h e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f d e a t h as a 'mystery' i s not s i m p l y ' p h i l o s o p h i c a l ' o r ' p o e t i c ' b u t i s s t r u c t u r a l l y o p e r a t i v e i n the founda-t i o n s o f thought i n our s o c i e t y , and i t i s t a k i n g a s t a n c e toward d e a t h as a mystery t h a t we f i n d s u p p o r t f o r t h e s o c i a l l y - o r g a n i z e d i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f 'c a u s e s ' , 'modes' and ' r e a s o n s ' t h a t t a k e s p l a c e on t h e o c c u r r e n c e o f a d e a t h . In a s e n s e , we are s o c i a l l y committed t o the d e m y s t i f i c a t i o n o f d e a t h , and y e t t h i s d e m y s t i f y i n g p r o j e c t i s s c h i z o p h r e n i c a l l y a t v a r i a n c e w i t h t h e s o c i a l b e h a v i o r t h a t a t t e n d s d e a t h i n the s o c i e t y . Though we want t o know, i n each i n s t a n c e , how and why a d e a t h o c c u r r e d , our b e h a v i o r i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by s o c i a l a v o i d a n c e o f t h e de a d , b o t h v i s u a l l y and as an i n -t e l l e c t u a l p r e o c c u p a t i o n . P a r t o f t h e f o r c e o f s u i c i d e l i e s perhaps i n i t s r e s i s t a n c e t o y i e l d i n g such e x p l a n a t i o n s , f o r i t s c h a r a c t e r as an a c t i o n seems t o l e a v e a r e s i d u a l 'why' even b e h i n d s u c c e s s f u l l y p r o f e r r e d e x p l a n -a t i o n s as t o why a p e r s o n d i d i t . A l t h o u g h i t i s t h e ca s e t h a t i n p r a c t i c a l d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g t h e c o r o n e r i n v a r i a b l y does c l a s s i f y u n n a t u r a l deaths as t o whether i t i s a s u i c i d e o r an a c c i d e n t , i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e i n t e r v i e w he can s l i p i n t o t h e p e r s p e c t i v e o f ' p h i l o s o p h i c a l r e f l e c t i o n ' , as i n D. 88, and adopt a t h e o r e t i c a l model o f extreme C a r t e s i a n s k e p t i c i s m t o p o i n t t o t h i s ' r e s i d u a l unknowing' about t h e u l t i m a t e i n t e n t i o n s o f o t h e r s , when he s a y s , 'How can a man be judged t o have changed h i s mind when he p u l l s t h e t r i g g e r and t h e p r o j e c t i l e i s now moving t h r o u g h t h e b a r r e l and he changes h i s mind a g a i n , how do you know t h e i n t e n t i o n a t the f i n a l moment? Or the 5 9 . c l a s s i c one i s where he's ha l f w a y down from o f f t h e b r i d g e . ' What's o f i n -t e r e s t t o us he r e i s t h a t one who i s c h a r g e d w i t h such d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g doesn't have t o 'know' about ' i n t e n t i o n s ' i n t h e f o r e g o i n g sense i n o r d e r t o 'know' and d i s p l a y as a f a c t t h e i n t e n t i o n a l i t y o f a p e r s o n who has com-m i t t e d s u i c i d e . The remarks above, I s h o u l d emphasize, a r e not meant as c o n j e c t u r e s a-bout t h i s p a r t i c u l a r s o c i e t y ' s 'psyche', but r a t h e r r e f e r t o a c t u a l s o c i -e t a l o r g a n i z a t i o n and p r a c t i c e s . That i s , when I suggest t h e r e i s a ' s o c i -e t a l p r o j e c t t o d e m y s t i f y d e a t h ' , I mean t h a t i t i s o b s e r v a b l e i n our so-c i e t y t h a t i n s t i t u t i o n s and e x p l i c i t . , l e g a l documentation have been c r e a -t e d f o r t h e purpose o f p r o d u c i n g ' r e a s o n s ' , 'causes' and 'motives' o f d e a t h (and a b r i e f g l a n c e a t the e t h n o g r a p h i e s o f o t h e r s o c i e t i e s w i l l i n d i c a t e t h a t as ' n a t u r a l ' and ' o b v i o u s ' as our p r a c t i c e s and o u r d e s i r e t o know what t h e cause o f d e a t h was appear t o u s , t h e y a r e , i n f a c t ? i d i o s y n c r a t i c ) . When I speak o f 'avoidance o f t h e dead' I'm not r e f e r r i n g t o t h e s o r t o f e v i d e n c e t h a t might be p r o v i d e d by an ' a t t i t u d e s u r v e y ' b u t r a t h e r t o such t h i n g s as t h e i n t e r i o r a r c h i t e c t u r e o f p l a c e s where t he dead a r e ke p t which a r e d e s i g n e d t o p r e v e n t p e o p l e from s e e i n g dead b o d i e s e x c e p t under con-t r o l l e d c i r c u m s t a n c e s . Throughout t h e r e s e a r c h , i n t h e c o u r s e o f making c o n s c i o u s my e p i s t e m -o l o g i c a l work as a m e t h o d o l o g i c a l p r i n c i p l e , my a t t e n t i o n was i n c r e a s i n g l y b r o ught t o b e a r on t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f o r d i n a r y f a c t i c i t y . R a t h er t h a n be-i n g c o n f r o n t e d w i t h a g i v e n s e t o f ' f a c t s ' from which a 'earning' was t o be adduced, I came t o a t t e n d t o how a p a r t i c u l a r ' f a c t ' came t o be a ' f a c t ' . The aim was not t o p r o v i d e a c o r r e c t i v e , remedy, o r c r i t i c i s m o f the modes which a r e employed f o r e s t a b l i s h i n g f a c t s - e.g., t h a t something comes t o be a f a c t by v i r t u e o f b e i n g r e p o r t e d c a s u a l l y by someone, was not r e g a r d e d as an o p p o r t u n i t y t o demonstrate t h a t ' f a c t ' s1 f a u l t i n e s s - but r a t h e r a 60: d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e p r o c e d u r e s by which something g e t s t o be a f a c t . T h i s s e n s i t i v i t y t o how we g e t t o know something as a ' f a c t ' was p a r -t i c u l a r l y h e i g h t e n e d d u r i n g r e s e a r c h i n v o l v i n g i n v e s t i g a t i o n and d i s c u s s i o n o f s u i c i d e - and he r e I'm r e f e r r i n g not j u s t t o t h i s segment o f t a l k w i t h t h e c o r o n e r , which i s , a f t e r a l l , q u i t e b r i e f , but t o an extended c o r p u s o f m a t e r i a l s a c q u i r e d d u r i n g t h e r e s e a r c h which I won't have t h e o p p o r t u n -i t y t o d i s p l a y o r s i g n i f i c a n t l y t r e a t i n t h i s r e p o r t . T h i s h e i g h t e n e d aware-ness i s r e l a t e d t o t h e p a r t i c u l a r c h a r a c t e r o f t h e a c t i v i t i e s t h a t come t o be c a l l e d ' s u i c i d e ' - and here I'm t h i n k i n g back t o the G a r f i n k e l m a t e r i a l s c i t e d e a r l i e r - as a complex o f eve n t s whose ' f a c t i c i t y ' i s p r e p o n d e r a n t l y i n f e r r e d . The method o f i n f e r e n c e employed by i n v e s t i g a t o r s i s p r o g r e s s i v e -r e g r e s s i v e . That i s , from t h e ' f a c t ' o f a ' s u i c i d e ' , i n v e s t i g a t o r s - who, remember, a r e c o n s t r a i n e d by such g e n e r a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s as h a v i n g t o g e t the t a s k completed w i t h i n a ' r e a s o n a b l e ' time - go back and l o c a t e items t h a t p o i n t f o r w a r d t o t h e v e r y t h i n g t h a t t h e y a r e c o n f r o n t e d w i t h . A s m a l l example o f t h i s can be note d i n B. 80 where the c o r o n e r s a y s , ' P a r t i c u l a r l y i n y o u r s u i c i d e c a ses we go back t o R i v e r v i e w and g e t an ex-t r a c t o f a l l t h e t r e a t m e n t s , c a r e and a t t e n t i o n t h e y r e c e i v e d b e f o r e t h e y came o u t . We're always c o n c e r n e d about w i t h why we've g o t t h e s e s u i c i d e s a few. days a f t e r r e l e a s e ' . I n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e i n t e r v i e w , we hear t h e c o r -o n e r's remark as a ' c o m p l a i n t ' about t h e p r a c t i c e s o f a p a r t i c u l a r mental h o s p i t a l , however, what's o f i n t e r e s t a t t h e moment i s how such a ' r e p o r t ' from a mental h o s p i t a l a f f e c t s t h e s t a t u s o f a d e t e r m i n a t i o n i n p r o g r e s s . The i r o n y o f t h e m a t t e r i s , t h a t c o n f r o n t e d w i t h a d e a t h t h a t ' s c a l l e d a ' s u i c i d e ' , t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r seeks t o e s t a b l i s h t h a t t h e p e r s o n was ' s u i c i -d a l ' , when, i n some l i t e r a l s e n s e , t h e per s o n ' s ' s u i c i d e ' has a l r e a d y e s t a b l i s h e d h i s ' s u i c i d a l n e s s ' , and y e t , i t ' s t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f t h e pe r s o n ' s ' s u i c i d a l t e n d e n c y ' t h r o u g h such t h i n g s as r e p o r t s from mental 61. h o s p i t a l s t h a t g i v e s s u p p o r t t o t h e d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f ' s u i c i d e ' . C o n v e r s e l y , I suppose, t h e p e r s o n ' s ' s u i c i d e ' s u p p o r t s the p r o g n o s i s o f t h e r e p o r t . I'm not a t a l l s u g g e s t i n g , by t h e way, t h a t t h e s e ' i r o n i e s ' a r e p r o b l e m a t i c f o r i n v e s t i g a t o r s and r e p o r t e r s , I'm s i m p l y a b s t r a c t i n g c e r t a i n l o g i c a l p r o p e r -t i e s t h a t go i n t o making the ' f a c t s ' r e a s o n a b l e , c o n s i s t e n t , e t c . I'm a b l e t o i n f e r from t h e s y n t a c t i c c o n t e x t o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s u t t e r a n c e (B. 80) t h a t t h e p r o c e d u r e o f c h e c k i n g w i t h R i v e r v i e w i s r o u t i n e l y seen as a p o t e n t i a l e x p l a n a t o r y ' r e s o u r c e ' i n s u i c i d e c a s e s . Thus an i n v e s t i g a t o r i s a b l e t o f o r m u l a t e such r a t i o n a l e s a s , ' W e l l , we checked w i t h R i v e r v i e w and X was i n t h e r e two weeks a g o , and, a c c o r d i n g t o t h e p o l i c e , t h e n e x t - d o o r n e i g h b o r s a i d X had t a l k e d about s u i c i d e the day b e f o r e . . . . ' and t h u s 'anyone' i s a b l e t o 'see' t h a t X was s u i c i d a l , and f u r t h e r , we f i n d t h a t t h i s i s t h e s o r t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t ' c o u n t s ' i n a c t u a l i n s t a n c e s . W i t h i n t h e i n t e r v i e w segment c o n c e r n i n g s u i c i d e s , t h e s u b j e c t o f t h e s t r u c t u r e o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s i n v e s t i g a t i o n s i s i n t r o d u c e d (B. 129-137) by i n t e r r o g a t i v e l y p r o p o s i n g a c a n d i d a t e term ( ' v e r d i c t ' ) t o c h a r a c t e r i s e / t h e c o r o n e r ' s ' d e c i s i o n * , a term which the c o r o n e r r e j e c t s (' no, i t ' s r e a l l y an o p i n i o n ' ) and f o r which he s u b s t i t u t e s t h e term ' o p i n i o n ' and subse-q u e n t l y d i s p l a y s t he o r g a n i z a t i o n usage o f t h i s ' n a t i v e c a t e g o r y ' . Having p r e v i o u s l y d i s p l a y e d the ' R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death' form and the 'Remains i n the Morgue' l i s t , t h e c o r o n e r i n t r o d u c e s (B. 132) a t h i r d a r t i f a c t (see e x h i b i t 3 ) , 'Report o f INQUIRY as t o cause o f D e a t h ' , produced by h i s es-t a b l i s h m e n t , and p o i n t s t o the usage o f t h e t erm ' o p i n i o n ' as t h e ' o f f i c i a l ' o r ' l e g a l ' c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f t h e r e s u l t s o f h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n . T h i s s t r u c t u r i n g o f d e t e r m i n a t i o n s i s t a k e n up a t some l e n g t h i n seg-ment D. 1-50 and 111-137. L e t me r e t u r n t o t h e a b s t r a c t i v e method f o r p r o -d u c i n g f o r m u l a t i o n s used e a r l i e r i n the o p e n i n g s e c t i o n t o b r i e f l y l o o k a t ' i n q u e s t s ' . 63. I n D. 1 the i n t e r v i e w e r f o r m u l a t e s t h a t an ' i n q u e s t ' i s something which i s 'announceable' by the c o r o n e r , ' r e p o r t a b l e ' i n the p r e s s , and ' n o t i c e -a b l e ' t o r e a d e r s , i n s h o r t , t h e ' i n q u e s t ' i s 'demonstrated' (by 'demonstra-t e d ' I mean t h a t t h e c l a i m i s ' s u b s t a n t i a t e d ' by r e f e r e n c e t o ' e v i d e n c e ' r a t h e r t h a n s i m p l y a s s e r t e d , o r proposed i n t e r r o g a t i v e l y ) t o be a ' p u b l i c ' a c t i v i t y r e l a t e d t o , i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , a p a r t i c u l a r nameable c a s e ('the K n i g h t c a s e ' ) . In D. 3-4 i t i s f o r m u l a t e d t h a t an ' i n q u e s t ' i s a g e o g r a p h i c a l l y l o -c a t a b l e a c t i v i t y ( h e l d i n the c o r o n e r ' s c o u r t r o o m ) . I n D. 5 the i n t e r v i e w e r f o r m u l a t e s t h a t an i n q u e s t i s ah a c t i v i t y t h a t i s composed o f a ' c a s t ' ( t h a t i s , p e r s o n s who, f o r t h e d u r a t i o n o f t h e ac-t i v i t y , a r e c a t e g o r i z a b l e w i t h i n a s e t o f terms p r o v i d e d by t h a t a c t i v i t y ) . The c o r o n e r b e g i n s t o d e l i n e a t e t h e s e c a t e g o r i e s by p r o p o s i n g t h a t t h e i n -qu e s t i s an a c t i v i t y a t which ' j u r o r s ' a r e p r e s e n t . The c o r o n e r t h e n d e s c r i b e s a p r o c e d u r e f o r o b t a i n i n g j u r o r s . A g a i n , we can see how t h e s e a p p a r e n t l y mundane remarks l e a d t o r e s e a r c h t a s k s . T a k i n g , f o r ' a moment, t h e s t a n c e o f a ' c u l t u r a l s t r a n g e r ' we can a s k , how i s i t t h a t o u t o f t h e s o c i e t y ' s p o p u l a t i o n , s e v e r a l p e r s o n s a r e s e l e c t e d and o r g a n i z e d t o be p r e s e n t a t an a c t i v i t y c a l l e d an ' i n q u e s t ' ? How i s i t t h a t ' j u r o r s ' (many o f whom, i t r e g u l a r l y t u r n s o u t , have n e v e r p r e v i o u s l y been j u r o r s , and who o c c a s i o n a l l y v o i c e t h e i r c o n c e r n about t h e i r a b i l i t y t o do jury-work by announcing t h a t t h i s i s t h e i r ' f i r s t ' time) know o r l e a r n how t o a c t , and r e g u l a r l y a c c o m p l i s h s a t i s f a c t o r i l y t h e t a s k o f •jury-work'? What, i n f a c t , do j u r o r s do? When t h e c o r o n e r says ( i n D. 8 ) , 'My c o r p o r a l g e t s them', t h i s i s ' , t r a n s f o r m a b l e i n t o t h e r e s e a r c h t a s k o f d i s p l a y i n g an i n s t a n c e o f a ' c o r p o r a l g e t t i n g a j u r o r ' and a n a l y z i n g ' t h e methods by which he a c c o m p l i s h e s such a t a s k . In D. 13 the i n t e r v i e w e r f o r m u l a t e s t h e s t r u c t u r e o f i n v e s t i g a t i o n s 64. o f c a s e s i n t o two rough c a t e g o r i e s : C o r o n e r1s Cases i n v e s t i g a t i o n i n v e s t i g a t i o n w i t h o u t a j u r y w i t h a j u r y The c o r o n e r , upon r e q u e s t , f o r m u l a t e s how i t i s t h a t some c a s e s come t o be i n v e s t i g a t e d w i t h a j u r y . A case i s i n v e s t i g a t a b l e by j u r y (or i n -q u e s t a b l e ) i f i t i s : a . 'a compensation c a s e ' b . 'homicide' c . 'unusual o r r e p e t i t i v e ' d. ' i f t h e r e ' s any p u b l i c hue and c r y . . . ' ' i f anybody i s scre a m i n g f o u l p l a y . . . . ' S u b s e q u e n t l y , w e ' l l l o o k a t o t h e r f o r m u l a t i o n s o f how c e r t a i n c a s e s come t o be ' i n q u e s t s ' . There i s the s u g g e s t i o n , i n D. 14, where t he c o r o n -e r s a y s , 'of c o u r s e h o m i c i d e ' , t h a t t h e 'of c o u r s e ' can be r e a d t o i n d i c a t e t h a t c e r t a i n c a s e s upon r e c o g n i t i o n o f b e i n g a p a r t i c u l a r t y p e (namely, 'homicides') a r e s i m u l t a n e o u s l y and ' a u t o m a t i c a l l y ' r e c o g n i z e d as coming under i n q u e s t i v e p r o c e d u r e s , whereas o t h e r c a t e g o r i e s o f p o s s i b l e i n q u e s t s a r e seen t o be o f a more d i s c r e t i o n a r y n a t u r e . The c o r o n e r f o r m u l a t e s ( i n D. 30-46) t h e o r d e r o f e v e n t s t h a t c o n s t i t -u t e an i n q u e s t and the o r d e r o f a c t i v i t i e s u n d e r t a k e n by t h e j u r y t h a t c o n s t i t u t e a ' d e l i b e r a t i o n ' as f o l l o w s : a . t h e c o r o n e r ' c a l l s ' ' w i t n e s s e s ' b. t h e w i t n e s s e s a r e ' q u e s t i o n e d ' c . t h e j u r o r s 'hear t h e f a c t s ' and d. ' d e l i b e r a t e ' The c o r o n e r ' s d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e j u r y ' s d e l i b e r a t i o n r e p r o d u c e s the c a t e g o r i z a t i o n p r o v i d e d i n p a r a g r a p h 8 above. He pr o p o s e s t h a t t h e o r d e r 65. o f t h e i r d e l i b e r a t i o n i s (1) d e t e r m i n i n g whether a d e a t h i s (a) 1 n a t u r a l ' o r ' u n n a t u r a l ' 1 and i f ' u n n a t u r a l ' c l a s s i f y i n g i t as i (b) a c c i d e n t s u i c i d e h o m i c i d e \ and (2) ' i f t h e r e ' s a n y t h i n g f u r t h e r ' the j u r y can a p p o r t i o n 'blame' and/or make recommendations. L o o k i n g ahead f o r a moment ( l a t e r we w i l l d i s p l a y i n s t a n c e s o f a c t u a l i n q u e s t s and j u r y d e l i b e r a t i o n ) t h e r e i s some a m b i g u i t y about e x a c t l y what i t i s t h a t i s undetermined t h a t a j u r y has t o d e t e r m i n e . I t i s s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e j u r y c l a s s i f i e s d e a t h s , and a l t h o u g h e x a m i n a t i o n o f jurwork w i l l d i s p l a y them i n such c l a s s i f y i n g a c t i v i t y , I found i n o b s e r v i n g t h e 'back-s t a g e ' a c t i v i t i e s t h a t s u r r o u n d an i n q u e s t t h a t almost i n v a r i a b l y , t h e p e r -s o n n e l o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e had come t o a d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f t h e case which was g e n e r a l knowledge among t h o s e engaged i n s t a g i n g t h e i n q u e s t . F u r t h e r , I found t h a t p e r s o n n e l d i r e c t l y i n v o l v e d i n s t a g i n g t h e i n q u e s t appeared t o f e e l c o n s t r a i n e d t o appear t o o t h e r s - d u r i n g and around t h e time and p l a c e o f t h e i n q u e s t - as though the d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o be r e a c h e d was unknown, t h o u g h , i n f a c t , t h e c a s e h a d , up t o t h a t p o i n t , been t r e a t e d as p e r f e c t l y well-known as an ' a c c i d e n t ' , ' s u i c i d e ' o r w h a t e v e r . T h u s , f o r example, a c a s u a l remark on my p a r t t o t h e c o r o n e r ' s c o r p o r a l t o t h e e f f e c t t h a t 'the j u r y ' 1 1 f i n d i t t o be an a c c i d e n t , won't t h e y ' would e l i c i t a t i n q u e s t - t i m e such t h i n g s as ' w e l l , you never know what t h e y ' l l d e c i d e ' o r ' i t ' s up t o them'. One t e n t a t i v e s o l u t i o n t o t h i s p u z z l e t h a t can be sug-g e s t e d i s the g e n e r a l f o r m u l a t i o n t h a t i t i s not t h e c a s e t h a t d e a ths which a r e t o be ' c l a s s i f i e d ' and 'determined' by g u r i e s have not a l r e a d y been ' c l a s s i f i e d ' and 'determined' by t h e c o r o n e r ' s s t a f f . H aving o f f e r e d a f o r m u l a t i o n o f what i n q u e s t s a r e (D. 30) and what 66. j u r i e s do (D. 4 2 ) , t h e c o r o n e r ( i n D. 50) o f f e r s a d e s c r i p t i o n t h a t i s a v a r i a t i o n o f t h e model p r o p o s e d above. With r e f e r e n c e t o the c a s e a t hand a t t h a t moment the c o r o n e r proposes t h a t , g i v e n the c o n d i t i o n 'there h a v i n g been a charge l a i d under S e c t i o n E i g h t , ' t h e j u r y has no d e l i b e r a t i n g work t o do but o n l y a k i n d o f w i t n e s s i n g t h a t i n v o l v e s l i s t e n i n g t o m e d i c a l ev-i d e n c e and l o o k i n g a t a body a t which p o i n t t h e c o r o n e r p r e d i c t s he w i l l ' a d j o u r n ' the i n q u e s t and 'complete i t by way o f an i n q u i r y as t o cause o f d e a t h and c l a s s i f y i t as h o m i c i d e ' . What's s u g g e s t e d h e r e i s not t h a t t h e r e are some m y s t e r i e s which r e q u i r e the c o l l e c t i v e a c t i o n o f some p a r t o f the g e n e r a l p o p u l a c e (known as a ' j u r y ' ) , but r a t h e r t h a t the c o r o n e r , as a de-mand upon h i s work, i s s o c i e t a l l y c o n s t r a i n e d t o have some p o r t i o n o f h i s a c t i v i t i e s w i t n e s s e d by r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f 'the p u b l i c ' . I w i l l t a k e up some o f t h e s e i s s u e s l a t e r i n t h e r e p o r t . I now w i s h t o d i s p l a y the t r a n s c r i p t from the tape r e c o r d i n g o f t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n t h a t took p l a c e between the c o r o n e r and i n t e r v i e w e r i n f a l l 1968. The b r e a k s between segments i n d i c a t e t h a t a s m a l l amount o f m a t e r i a l was l o s t due t o r e c o r d i n g d i f f i c u l t i e s , moving a r o u n d , c o f f e e b r e a k s where someone was o u t o f sound r a n g e , e t c . 67. INTERVIEW WITH CORONER A. 1. C o r o n e r : I got one he r e I wi s h somebody would t e l l me what i t i s . . . 2. I n t e r v i e w e r : (laughs) L e t ' s s e e , I've g o t t h i s o n . 3. C:'Yeah. 4. I: And, I have some t h i n g s - some q u e s t i o n s t o ask you t o s t a r t w i t h t h a t a r e v e r y s i m p l e . 5. C: Yeah, go ahead. 6. I: because i t t u r n e d o u t we knew n o t h i n g about t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e -7. C o r p o r a l : I don't want t o b u t t i n , j u s t g e t i t o v e r w i t h and I ' l l g e t o u t . I s t h i s J e n d r o n okay f o r r e l e a s e then? 8. C: Yeah, I j u s t want t o t a l k about i t w i t h Mr. P e r s k y . 9. Corp: Oh. I ' l l l e a v e i t h e r e , b u t i f t h e r e ' s any i n q u i r i e s (( )) ((put i t f o r r e l e a s e ) ) 10. C: Yeah ( ( I ' l l g i v e i t t o you)) 11. 1 : 1 was f i r s t o f a l l c u r i o u s t o know how do you g e t t o be the c o r o n e r i n V a n c o u v e r . 12. C: W e l l , I came down t o r e l i e v e (( )) B. 1. I: One o f t h e f i r s t t h i n g s t h a t I wanted t o know was under what c i r -cumstances do b o d i e s come t o you? How do you g e t -2. C: W e l l , i n t h e m a i n , i t would be c a s e s t h a t t h e a t t e n d i n g p h y s i c i a n i s u n a b l e , f o r a v a r i e t y o f r e a s o n s , t o s i g h t h e d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e . 3. I: Mm-hmm. And th e n what - he r e f e r s -4. C: W e l l , t h e n , a g a i n , i f you c a n ' t have a R e g i s t r a t i o n o f De a t h , as I've shown you h e r e , you cannot be i s s u e d w i t h a p e r m i t .to b u r y , cremate o r remove, a l l o w i n g you t o d i s p o s e o f t h e r e m a i n s . So t h e n , i f y o u ' l l no-t i c e on t h e Death R e g i s t r a t i o n h e r e , down, s e c t i o n 25, 'was t h e r e an aut o p s y ? ' you s e e . I f you go up t o s e c t i o n 23 y o u ' l l n o t i c e t h e approximate i n t e r v a l between o n s e t and d e a t h . 5. I : Mm-hmm. 6. C: Then i f y o u ' l l go ov e r t o yo u r l e f txh a n d s i d e y o u ' l l see 'the d i s -ease o r c o n d i t i o n d i r e c t l y l e a d i n g t o d e a t h * . 7. I: Mm-hmm. 8. C: And the an t e c e d a n t c a u s e s . Now you've g o t t o have t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n b e f o r e V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s w i l l a c c e p t t h e R e g i s t r a t i o n o f Death and t h e n g i v e you a p e r m i t t o bury o r cremate. 9. I : Mm-hmm. 10. C: Now o t h e r c a s e s a r e more o b v i o u s , such as t r a u m a t i c d e a t h s , such as automobile c o l l i s i o n . Or a s u s p e c t e d p o i s o n i n g . Or a s u s p e c t e d i n f e c t i o u s 68. d i s e a s e . 11. I: I s e e . 12. C: And a l s o you go i n t o l i k e , sometimes we c a l l t h i s t h e r e l i g i o u s a r e a . F o r example, one r e l i g i o n r e f u s e s t o have m e d i c a l a s s i s t a n c e and somebody d i e s , and the neighborhood i s u p s e t . 13. I : R i g h t , r i g h t . 14. C: Or a g a i n , r e f u s e s t o t a k e b l o o d t r a n s f u s i o n s and everyone g e t s a l -armed as t o what t h e cause o f d e a t h was. 15. I : Do you have t o p r o v i d e f o r t h a t i n s t a n c e ? You have t o p r o v i d e t h i s r e g i s t r a t i o n o f d e a t h form? 16. C: Oh y e s , t h e n I f i l l o u t t h i s ; i n s t e a d o f t h e d o c t o r s i g n i n g on the bottom t h e r e , t h e f a m i l y d o c t o r , the c o r o n e r w i l l s i g n . 17. I: R i g h t . 18. C; That becomes a l i t t l e more s o p h i s t i c a t e d t o o , because most m e d i c a l -l e g a l o f f i c e s - ((where the autopsy i n d e x r a t i o may be)) between 19 and 25% - t h a t ' s t h e t o t a l number o f a u t o p s i e s done o v e r t h e d e a t h p o p u l a t i o n t i m e s a hundred p e r c e n t . 19. I : R i g h t . 20. C: I n most o f t h e s e a r e a s - T e r k e l l worked t h i s o u t , he's t h e c o r o n e r down i n San F r a n c i s c o -21. I : Mm-hmm. 22. C: - t h a t we s h o u l d r e q u i r e t h a t a d o c t o r be o n l y a l l o w e d t o s i g n f o r an organ o r an o r g a n system which has caused d e a t h and f o r which he has t r e a t e d f o r 10 days p r i o r t o t h a t d e a t h and f o r which he i s p r e p a r e d t o s i g n t he cause o f d e a t h as b e i n g d i r e c t l y a t t r i b u t a b l e t o . 23. I: R i g h t . 24. C: Where, i n c o n t r o l t e s t s t h a t T e r k e l l ' s done and I've done - we're r u n n i n g somewhere l i k e 29 and 35% f a u l t as t o the organ o r organ system i n v o l v e d as f a r as the. a t t e n d i n g p h y s i c i a n was c o n c e r n e d . C e r e b r a l - v a s c u l a r a c c i d e n t as opposed t o b r a i n tumor. G a s t r o - i n t e s t i n a l hemmorage as opposed t o c e p t e c e m i a . These a r e f a u l t s , n o t i n s o f a r as t h e y ' r e b e i n g c l a s s i f i e d as a n a t u r a l d e a t h , b u t i n s o f a r as t h e cause o f t h a t n a t u r a l d e a t h has n o t been s u f f i c i e n t l y d e t e r m i n e d p u r s u a n t t o 150 i n t e r n a t i o n a l c a u s e s o f d e a t h which a r e a c c e p t e d , w o r l d - w i d e . 25. I : What about DOA's a t t h e h o s p i t a l , a r e you r e q u i r e d t o d e a l w i t h a l l o f t h o s e ? v 26. C: Y e s . 27. I : And you have t o l a b e l a l l o f t h e s e d e a t h s ? 28. C: W e l l , a DOA a t t h e h o s p i t a l w i l l come down t o us f o r the s i m p l e r e a s o n t h a t h o s p i t a l s don't admit dead b o d i e s . They may i n the u p c o u n t r y , s a y , where t h e y ' r e u s i n g i t as a c o r o n e r ' s morgue, n o t a h o s p i t a l morgue. 29. I : R i g h t . 30. C: We w i l l h o l d a c a s e and t h e n i n q u i r e around t o see j u s t who i s p r e p a r e d t o s i g n . Now I ' l l show y o u , t h i s i s my s h e e t f o r t o d a y . 69. 31. I: Mm-hmm. 32. C: Now 'NCC i s 'not a coroner's case', Dr. Jackson w i l l sign, NCC Dr. B e l l - I r v i n g w i l l sign. I t may not be a coroner's case down here, but we have to be a holding area against the time when we can decide -33. I: This i s a l i s t put out every morning by the morgue people? 34. C: Oh yeah. By my c h i e f technician i n the back. I have a s t a f f of about 12 to 14 people. 35. I: Working f o r you? 36. C: Oh c e r t a i n l y . 37. I: And y o u ' r e a l s o i n charge o f C i t y Morgue? 38. C: C i t y Morgue i s h e r e . A l l -'39.. I: A l l p a r t o f the same department. 40. C: I am t h e C i t y C o r o n e r ' s department. I'm the head o f t h e department. 41. I: They p r e p a r e the l i s t o f c o r p s e s y o u ' r e h o l d i n g ? 42. C: These j u s t m e r e l y happen t o be the ones t h a t a r e i n now. 43. I: And t h i s come out e v e r y day? 44. C: We h a n d l e somewhere l i k e - we do about 1200 a u t o p s i e s a means we h a n d l e a l o t more t h a n 1200 b o d i e s a y e a r . y e a r . That 45. I: Y e s . And you're r e q u i r e d t o l a b e l a l l o f t h o s e f o r some cause o f death? 46. C: Oh y e a h . Sometimes you g e t an undetermined . We may spend f a r more time a t t o x i c o l o g y t h a n we e v e r do a t p a t h o l o g y . We may end up d o i n g some v e r y remote t e s t s , i n d e e d , i n j e c t i n g stomach f l u i d i n t o l i v e mice and so f o r t h , t o see what caused t h i s d e a t h . Cause .you're g e t t i n g i n t o an ( ( a r e a ) ) o f drugs and s y n e r g y s t i c e f f e c t s o f drugs which i s j u s t f a n t a s t i c . We used t o t h i n k t h a t good o l d a l c o h o l and s l e e p i n g p i l l s was a w o n d e r f u l t h i n g , b u t now we're g o i n g i n t o t h e t r a n q u i l i z e r s a c t i n g w i t h t r a n q u i l i z e r s p r o d u c i n g a s y n e r g y s t i c e f f e c t t h r e e p l u s t h r e e e q u a l s n i n e o r something. 47. I: Yeah, we h e a r a l i t t l e b i t about t h a t . 48. C: And t h i s j u s t goes on and o n . 49. I: F o r each dead body t h a t comes w i t h i n y o u r p u r v i e w you're r e q u i r e d t o p r o v i d e some s o r t o f l a b e l ? 50. C: As you can see by t h e death c e r t i f i c a t e i n f r o n t o f y o u . 51. I: Y e s . 52. ' C: Then I go down t o s e c t i o n 26 and i f i t ' s an u n n a t u r a l d e a t h I g o t t a c l a s s i f y i t as a c c i d e n t , s u i c i d e o r h o m i c i d e . 53. I: T h i s i s f o r v i o l e n t d e a ths t h e n , you have t h e s e 3 c a t e g o r i e s . 54. C: Y e s . 55. I: A r e t h e r e any o t h e r c a t e g o r i e s f o r v i o l e n t d e a t h s ? 56. C: No-o. Sometimes you can p l a y around w i t h m i s a d v e n t u r e . And i n d e e d , don't f o r g e t t h e s e have some r a t h e r s t r o n g c o n t r a c t u a l meanings as f a r as l i f e i n s u r a n c e and d o u b l e i n d e m n i t y -70. 57. 1:1 have a few questions about that that I wanted to get into. And then for non-violent deaths, what sorts of categories do you provide for labelling death in those instances? 58. C: Well, there's one here - bronchial pneumonia. Just goes up into the upper section and that's a l l there i s . 59. I: Oh, I see.. Just the top half., and W h e r e ' s cause? 60. C: That's 23. My only concern really i s underneath 22 where i t says 'medical certificate of death'. •61. I: Mm-hmm. Right. 62. C: A l l that that follows below there is information which I have to get. 63. I: Mm-hmm. Will i t be possible for me to get a blank of these forms to take with me by any chance? 64. C: Yeah, I think we got some here. You can get 'em from V i t a l Stats any time. 65. I: Okay, that's fine. The decision to label a death, then, is made by you? 66. C: Well, i t ' s made as a result of the investigation, as a result of the pathological findings and as a result of toxocological findings i f that be necessary. 67. I: When are -68. C: We send about 1100 specimens down to the chemist, who's below here, a year, of a l l types, blood, l i v e r , kidney, brains and so forth. 69. I: So both of these departments then report to you. 70. C: Yeah. 71. I: And then on that basis you make a determination and have this report f i l l e d in. 72. C: Well, there is ((a classical sort of thing)) - 'asphyxia due to strangulation', hung self with piece of rope, you find a l i t t l e picture up here, and so on, and there's a completed .case. That case i s just about completed. 73. I: This one is -74. C: There's a sort of case - and then we send down here for the toxicol-ogy, that's from the chemist, and this i s from the autopsist. ((This one's s t i l l . . . ) ) 75. I: That one's s t i l l underway. 76. C: ((This i s the one I wanted.)) 77. I: Do you enter into consultations with the doctors and police also for determining cause? 78. C: We get any doctor who's treated a patient to send us in his f u l l report, we get the f u l l medical reports from the hospital. 79. I: And this is attached to this entire case - is this called a case history? 80. C: Particularly i n your suicide cases we go back to Riverview and get 71. an e x t r a c t o f a l l t h e t r e a t m e n t s , c a r e and a t t e n t i o n t h e y r e c e i v e d b e f o r e t h e y came o u t . We're always c o n c e r n e d about why we've g o t t h e s e s u i c i d e s a few days a f t e r r e l e a s e . 81. I : A f t e r r e l e a s e by whom? 82. C: From R i v e r v i e w . 83. I : Oh, r e l e a s e from t h e mental h o s p i t a l . And then t h e s u i c i d e t u r n s up and t h e n you want t o know why they r e l e a s e them. 84. C: We go r i g h t back and - we do what we c a l l a p s y c h i a t r i c a u t o p s y . . 85. I: I s e e . 86. C: But I don't know t h a t we can g e t any f u r t h e r t h a n when we s t a r t e d o u t w i t h t h e s e t h i n g s cause an awful l o t o f c a s e s you'd l i k e t o t a l k t o i n the next w o r l d , as t o why t h e y d i d t h e s e v a r i o u s t h i n g s . 87. I : Do you have l o t s o f s u i c i d e s o v e r t h e y e a r ? 88. C: Do we have l o t s ? About 80 o r 90. 89. I: About 80 o r 90 a y e a r . 90. C: Somewhere i n t h a t a r e a . 91. I : W e l l , i n a t y p i c a l s u i c i d e c a s e , what s o r t s o f p e o p l e g e t i n v o l v e d ? 92. C: Men and women. 93. I: (laughs) I mean, a f t e r you have t h e body, what s o r t s o f p e o p l e do you have t o d e a l w i t h tossdetermine t h a t i t was a s u i c i d e ? How do you de-ter m i n e s u i c i d e i n a t y p i c a l c a s e ? 94. C: A l l we can f i n d i s the u s u a l t h i n g , i s statements o f i n t e n t i o n o f s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n . M a n i c - d e p r e s s a n t , despondency. 95. I: How do you f i n d - how do you l o c a t e ? 96. C: By g o i n g t o t h e i r n e x t - o f - k i n , f r i e n d s , enemies, e m p l o y e r s , p e o p l e t h e y met, whether t h e y went i n the b e e r p a r l o r , what th e y s a y , do m e s t i c s q u a b b l e s , and q u a r r e l s . 97. I: Do you l e a v e t h e o f f i c e and t r y t o l o c a t e t h e s e p e o p l e ? 98. C: Oh c e r t a i n l y , t h a t ' s why t h e p o l i c e i n v e s t i g a t i o n , y e a h . We're t r y i n g t o f i n d o u t why t h a t chap jumped o f f t h e b r i d g e t h e o t h e r m o r n i n g . 99. I: Yeah, I was wonde r i n g . 100. C: T h a t ' s the one he was t a l k i n g about r i g h t now. 101. I : Tha t Jendron? 102. C: Yeah. A l l I g o t on him i s - t h a t he was - w e l l , D e t e c t i v e S c o t t ' s been o u t on t h i s . And we're c h e c k i n g out the a c i d and LSD a s p e c t o f i t . They say t h a t we don't know a n y t h i n g more about t h a t -103. I: Now i t ' s t h e p o l i c e who go and c o n t a c t . 104. C: They went t o the Dante's I n f e r n o (( )) 105. I : R i g h t . 106. C: Then t h e r e ' s t h e r e p o r t on what he d i d . R o u t i n e t h i n g , $1.26 i n h i s p o s s e s i o n , sudden d e a t h , t a k e n t o S t . P a u l ' s v i a M e t r o , t h e n t o C i t y Morgue v i a M e t r o . Pronounced by D r . L e a c h - P o t t e r . Next o f k i n , mother and f a t h e r 72. n o t i f i e d . 107. I: I t ' s the p o l i c e then who have to go out and contact next of k i n and friends? 108..C: That's t h e i r job. They do the i n v e s t i g a t i o n . 109. I: They do the i n v e s t i g a t i o n . They ask people questions l i k e , was the person f e e l i n g despondent? 110. C: Yeah. 111. I: And then they report to you. 112. C: Well here i t i s here. 'According to a l l the witnesses the v i c t i m had run across the roadway from west to east side, almost being h i t by ve-h i c l e s , climbed the wire netting and dived out from the edge. No apparent reason could be determined.' 113. I: Mm-hmm. 114. C: 'Regarding information on the deceased, witness number 3 Rainey was a passenger i n the car southbound. He stated that i t appeared to him that the v i c t i m had been walking with another person, t a l l e r than the v i c t i m , approx-imately the same age, not wearing a hat or coat' - v i c t i m of sudden death., and so on. The other person apparently continued walking north on the east side of the bridge and d i d not stop any time. No one can explain why he or the other ((occupants)) f a i l e d to go a f t e r the person. And so, ..there are no i n d i c a t i o n s of needlemarks on the arms..it's s t i l l continuing. 115. I: A c t u a l l y , i t ' s your o f f i c e that ends up r e l e a s i n g -116. C: Yeah. 117. I: the body f o r b u r i a l . So you have also contact with funeral people, insurance -118. C: Well, they come i n with an order from the family. 119. I: From the family. 120. C: And we j u s t check the order/and i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and they take the remains. 121. I: They take the body. And what about insurance people? Do they ever get involved i n cases? 122. C: No, they bring down a form. Usually the family (( )) f i l l e d out as to the cause of death, and j u s t sign i t . Then they go and get t h e i r money from the insurance company. 123. I: I see. One of the things I was curious about. We had some sort of data from the coroner i n Los Angeles where people would write l e t t e r s to the coroner. Afterwards, i n connection with s u i c i d e cases;?* I-was wondering, do you ever get any kind of pressure about s u i c i d e decisions from people? 124. C: Quite often. I know Corfee's setup down there, he was i n Toronto at our l a s t coroner's seminar t h i s August. He's blessed 125. I: (laughs) 126. C: with three p s y c h i a t r i s t s that volunteer t h e i r services and do these s o - c a l l e d p s y c h i a t r i c autopsies with great finesse. I know they worked f o r two weeks on Marilyn Monroe and concluded that i t was probably she had t a -ken an overdose because of her background and i n s t a b i l i t y and so on, but 73. they didn't really say she did. 127. I: No they never -128. C: They kind of sloughed that one over.. 129. I: Is your decision called a 'verdict'? 130. C: No, i t ' s really an opinion. 131. I: Your decision i s an opinion. 132. C: If you look at any of these inquiries, you'll see that i t says on the form - I don't know whether that's completed, i t may be, yeah, there's one there, see that down on the bottom there? This is what I put in. Opin-:he coroner. I see. And this i s the 'Report of Inquiry as to Cause-of Death 1. And why does the word 'suicide' appear here at the bottom? That's the classification. Ah. Right. That's what's on the certificate there. And i t has to be one of these three. Yeah. In this one..the 'x' then should appear in - appears in the suicide Right. Oh no, I mean, as far as communication with the public, my court i s the openest court in the land. Anybody can walk in and say, hey, something's gone wrong. I don't like this. And of course that's what happened in the • Castellani case. 145. I: Yeah, I -146. C: Move right on from that, disinter and start again. For the samples that were taken were merely taken as a sort of afterthought by Dr. Musco-vich and (( )) 147. I: I was thinking more of the case where you know perfectly well i t ' s a suicide, but the family, for various reasons, doesn't want the memory marred, things like that. 148. C: Yeah, I was president of the National Coroners' Association. (( ) ) . I've been with coroners for 14 years, and there's one thing we say. You don't take that which is obvious as being so at a l l . There's nothing obvious in this game. And so even i f you are sure you're never sure. 149. I: Mm-hmm. 150. C: And they might be right. I encourage next of kin to come i n and dissuade me from one opinion to another, and have the investigating officers and my pathologist and my toxologist a l l here present at the same time, or i f there are too many of us we go in the courtroom with my court reporter, and go through every facet of explanation that can be offered and proper. ion of 133. I: 134. C: 135. I: 136. C: 137. I: 138. C: 139. I: 140. C: 141. I: box. I 142. C: 143. I: 144. C: 74. 151. I: Do many of these kinds of conferences occur over the year? 152. C: Well, not too many. (( )) I mean, these are serious ones. I mean, the routine thing, no. Here's a whole l i s t of 10 suicides which I got my pathologist's secretary to get out f o r you. 153. I: Oh, thank you. 154. C: You can look through those very quickly, and I'm sure y o u ' l l be able to see there's r e a l l y no b i g pattern. You know from (( )) Do you want a coffee? ***** C. 1. G: This i s a 7-day, 7-night a week (( ) ) , I'm on c a l l anytime. I got a radio i n my car. 2. I: Oh r e a l l y ? 3. C: And I'm checking i n on the a i r every two hours. This b u i l d i n g i s manned 24 hours a day. 4. I: Right. 5. C: I have a secretary and a corporal i s with me f u l l - t i m e and he looks a f t e r the c o r r e l a t i o n between the homicide and robbery department and the routine c a l l reports. He a c t u a l l y works f o r the detective d i v i s i o n . And then the next door there i s Dr. Harmon and Dr. Robertson. I have to path- , o l o g i s t s . I have f i v e chemists down below (( )) i, ***** D. 1. I: Then, another thing I was curious (( )) I see i n t h i s morning's paper that you announced t h e r e ' l l be an inquest i n t o the Knight case. 2. C: Yeah. That's a stabbing. 3. I: The inquest i s held where? 4. C: Right i n t h i s courtroom. 5. I: And who's normally present? 6. C: Well, you've got 6 j u r o r s . 7. I : How are they chosen? 8. C: My corporal gets them..(( ))who are reasonably i n t e l l i g e n t , and depending on the type of inquest. I f i t ' s an i n d u s t r i a l f a t a l i t y , then we'll get men who are f a m i l i a r with that type of industry. 9. I: Mm. 10. C: If i t ' s a t r a f f i c f a t a l i t y , w e ' l l get the l o c a l manager of the Safeway or the bank where i t happened, people who are f a m i l i a r with the problems of that i n t e r s e c t i o n . 11. I: Who w i l l act as the coroner's jury? 12. C: They come as the jur y . 75. 13. I: How do you decide to have a jury? There are many cases where you don't require a jury? 14. C: Usually, i t ' s a question, one, i f i t ' s a compensation case, two, i f i t ' s of course homicide, three, i f it's-of unusual or repetitive interest -well, this i s the fourth or f i f t h that's been k i l l e d in this particular place. 15. I: In this area? 16. C: In this area. 17. I: I see. 18. C: If there's any public hue and cry about i t where there's - the role of the coroner was to warn the public of a pestilence being loose in the land and a l l this sort of thing. And i f anybody i s screaming foul play and we want to clean i t a l l up this i s where they l e t off steam, and here are a l l the facts. Regardless of whether they're hearsay or not. Alright, you say this, now let's go and find out i f this be so. Lots of times a death w i l l occur where there are financial consequences to one side of the family or another. Such as a lawful wife who hasn't seen her husband for a long time and a common-law i s involved. So he's dead. Each one's accusing the other of something. 19. I: What1s a compensation case? 20. C: Workmen's Compensation Board. 21. I: And they come in -22. C: Well in industry. Oh sure. 23. I: Right. 24. C: They have their own books and their own regulations and i f these have not been followed, we want to know why they haven't been followed, and they may up the rate in the industry. And a l l these regulations have to be followed. 25. I: If your court determines that they haven't been followed..? 26. C: Then they're censured and they sometimes put in recommendations that this be changed and that be changed and so on. (( )) I go on and for-ward i t to the proper authorities so that this w i l l be done. 27. I: This involves paying compensation to the widow? 28. C: Well the Compensation Board pays the widow. Sure, she gets 135 a month and 35 or 40 a month for a child. 29. I: And you act as the judge or the magistrate i n this court? 30. C: No, I merely control the calling of the witnesses and making sure the supeonas are issued and so forth, that everybody appears and then questions them and then they hear the facts and they go deliberate. 31. I: Mm-hmm. Is there a magistrate in the court -32. C: No, I'm the magistrate. 33. I: You're the magistrate. 34. C: I am a magistrate. 35. I: You are -76. 36. C: as w e l l as b e i n g a c o r o n e r . 37. I: As w e l l as b e i n g a c o r o n e r . 38. C: Most c o r o n e r s i n the lower m a i n l a n d now a r e m a g i s t r a t e c o r o n e r s . 39. I: Oh, I s e e . Then the c o r o n e r ' s j u r y d e l i b e r a t e s and t h e y come -, 40. C: Yeah, th e y ' v e g o t t h e i r own j u r y room where (( )) 4 1 . I: /And t h e y come back w i t h some s o r t o f a v e r d i c t . 42. C: W e l l , f i r s t , t h e y have t o determine whether i t ' s n a t u r a l o r un-n a t u r a l , and i f i t ' s u n n a t u r a l , c l a s s i f y i t as b e i n g a c c i d e n t , s u i c i d e o r h o m i c i d e . 43. I: Mm-hmm. 44. C: B r i n g i n g t o t h o s e words t h e everyday meanings which you and I use i n our c o n v e r s a t i o n s . I f t h e r e ' s a n y t h i n g f u r t h e r t h e y f i n d t h e p e r s o n o r p e r s o n s t o blame o r c i r c u m s t a n c e s such as i n t h e i r o p i n i o n has c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h i s f a t a l i t y and t h e y say s o . 45. I: I s e e . 46. C: They may a p p o r t i o n blame. And f u r t h e r m o r e - t h e y say t h a t a r a i l i n g o r a guard r a i l s h o u l d be p u t up and so f o r t h , so t h a t t h i s does not o c c u r a g a i n . 47. I: F o r example, a t tomorrow's i n q u e s t t h e r e w i l l be a c o r o n e r ' s j u r y t h e r e ? 48. C: Oh y e s . 49. I : What about t h e man who i s now charged w i t h t h e -50. C: In t h i s c a s e , t h e r e h a v i n g been a charge l a i d under S e c t i o n E i g h t , w e ' l l merely b r i n g t he j u r y down, swear them i n , have the body i d e n t i f i e d t o them, t h e n t a k e the m e d i c a l e v i d e n c e and t h e n a d j o u r n i t s i n e d i e , which means we p r o b a b l y won't b r i n g them back and I ' l l complete i t by way o f an i n q u i r y as t o cause o f d e a t h and c l a s s i f y i t as h o m i c i d e . 51. I: The f i r s t c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t h o u g h , t h a t you engage i n i s d e c i d i n g i f i t ' s n a t u r a l o r u n n a t u r a l ? 52. C: Yeah. 53. I: I f i t ' s a n a t u r a l cause t h e n what s o r t s o f c a t e g o r i e s do you a s s i g n t o -54. C: W e l l , i t may be a n y t h i n g . 55. I : I t ' s g i v e n a m e d i c a l -56. C: A c u t e c e r e b r a l endyma, I've g o t h e r e , a c u t e c e r e b r a l a t o m a o r m i l d c a r d o f a c t i o n , m i l d c a r d o -57. I : So i f i t ' s a n a t u r a l d e a t h you a s s i g n a m e d i c a l c a u s e . 58. C: W e l l , my p a t h o l o g i s t w i l l g i v e me t h a t . 59. I : H e ' l l g i v e you t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n . 60. C: The p a t h o l o g i s t has t o determine whether t h i s i s a n a t u r a l o r un-n a t u r a l d e a t h . T h a t ' s h i s p r o b l e m . 61. I : I s e e . 77. 62. C: And i f he's unable t o do t h a t , we send t h e specimens down t o t h e t o x i c o l o g i s t o r the c h e m i s t . And he does h i s -63. I: I s i t p o s s i b l e t h a t b o t h o f them a r e s t i l l u n a b l e t o determine? 64. C: Sometimes. About two o r t h r e e t i m e s a y e a r . Then we have t o be h o n e s t w i t h o u r s e l v e s and say cause o f d e a t h u n d e t e r m i n e d . 65. I: T h a t ' s t h e r e s i d u e c a t e g o r y i n c a s e you've done e v e r y t h i n g . 66. C: Yeah. I t may t a k e weeks and sometime months working (( )) gener-a l unknown (( )) Rare p o i s o n s and t h i n g s l i k e t h a t you c a n t be s u r e o f . 67. I: The a c t u a l m e d i c a l cause i s g i v e n t o you by a p a t h o l o g i s t o r d o c t o r ? 68; C: C e r t i f i e d p a t h o l o g i s t . 69. I : By a c e r t i f i e d p a t h o l o g i s t . So say a man d i e s o f a b r o k e n neck. W e l l , t h a t woMdn't be a n a t u r a l c a u s e , would i t ? 70. C: No. T h a t ' d be u n n a t u r a l . 71. I : T h a t ' d be an u n n a t u r a l c a u s e . A h e a r t a t t a c k , as a n a t u r a l c a u s e , and t h e p a t h o l o g i s t i s q u a l i f i e d t o d e t e rmine -72. C: Oh c e r t a i n l y . 73. I: t h a t t h e man d i e d o f a h e a r t a t t a c k . And do you have t o d e t ermine t h i s f o r y o u r s e l f ? You never a r e r e q u i r e d t o p e r f o r m a u t o p s i e s ? 74. C: Oh no. I p u t on the g l o v e s and work a l o n g w i t h them. A l l o f my s t a f f a r e c a p a b l e o f d o i n g a u t o p s i e s as f a r as t h a t ' s c o n c e r n e d . 75. I : R i g h t . 76. C: But i t ' s t h e s i g n i n g o f i t and the f i n a l a u t h o r i t y f o r e x a c t l y what you do say you g o t t a be a c e r t i f i e d p a t h o l o g i s t . A man can drop dead i n a d o c t o r ' s o f f i c e and he d o e s n ' t know t h e cause o f d e a t h . A d o c t o r by l o o k i n g a t a p a t i e n t c a n ' t say the cause o f d e a t h i s n a t u r a l . He d o e s n ' t know whether he's got a CBA o r a h e a r t o r a n y t h i n g -77. I : R i g h t . 78. C: o r a l c o h o l o r b a r b i t u a t e s . You have t o go t h r o u g h and f i n d t h o s e o u t . 79. I : Now i s t h a t l i s t e d as an u n n a t u r a l c a u s e , the c o m b i n a t i o n o f a l c o -h o l and b a r b i t u a t e s ? 80. C: C e r t a i n l y . 81. I: And what c a t e g o r y does t h a t come under i n the u n n a t u r a l s ? 82. C: W e l l , i t c o u l d be s u i c i d e , i t c o u l d be a c c i d e n t . I t c o u l d be hom-i c i d e . 83. I: Those a r e t h e 3 main -84. C: W e l l , t h a t ' s t h e way we b r e a k down the t h r e e u n n a t u r a l s , y e a h . 85. I : How i s t h a t determined? Has i t always been t h a t way? These 3? 86. C: Yeah, i t ' s been t h a t way f o r a hundred and t w e n t y - f i v e y e a r s , I g u e s s . 87. I: So i f i t i s n ' t a s u i c i d e o r a h o m i c i d e and a man has d i e d o f a l c o -h o l and b a r b i t u a t e s , would t h a t be c o n s i d e r e d a c c i d e n t a l ? 78. 88. C: Yeah. How can you determine whether a man has changed h i s mind a f -t e r h e1s t a k e n an overdose and j u s t s l i p p e d i n t o a deep coma o r semi-coma? How can a man be judged t o have changed h i s mind when he p u l l s t h e t r i g -g e r and the p r o j e c t i l e i s now moving t h r o u g h t h e b a r r e l and he changes h i s mind a g a i n , how do you know t h e i n t e n t i o n a t t h e f i n a l moment? Or t h e c l a s s i c one i s where he's h a l f w a y down from o f f t h e b r i d g e . 89. I: How do you know? You d o n ' t . 90. C: We don't know. 91. I : And t h a t ' s when you s t a r t c o n t a c t i n g f a m i l y . 92. C: W e l l , we t r y t o f i n d out r e a s o n s and m o t i v e s , c e r t a i n l y . 93. I: Mm-hmm. 94. C: But t h e main i d e a i s t o r u l e o u t any f o u l p l a y t h a t c o u l d be i n -v o l v e d . 95. I: What happens i f you determine t h a t a d e a t h i s a h o m i c i d e ? Does t h a t a f f e c t t h e p o l i c e ? 96. C: C e r t a i n l y . They g o t t a go f i n d t h e guy who d i d i t . 97. I: They may a l s o s u s p e c t though t h a t i t ' s been a h o m i c i d e . 98. C: (( )) The p o l i c e have been a t the s c e n e . They've t a k e n t h e photo-g r a p h s . They've done a l l t h i s . 99. I: And t h e y ' r e a s k i n g you t o c o n f i r m ? 100. C: R i g h t . We may have a t y p i c a l b r a w l down here i n S k i d Row where everybody's drunk, nobody can g i v e you an e x p l a n a t i o n o f a n y t h i n g -101. I: R i g h t . 102. C: How Mazie went out t h e window, how Joe seems t o be s l e e p i n g a l i t -t l e deeper than u s u a l . The f a c t he's d e a d , who b e a t him up and a l l t h a t s o r t o f t h i n g . We a r r e s t them a l l under my w a r r a n t and h o l d them t i l t h e y sober up and t h e n ask them. Course i t ' s not much b e t t e r t h e n . 103. I: You can i s s u e w a r r a n t s f o r a r r e s t ? 104. C: Oh, y e s . 105. I: From your o f f i c e . What's the c h a r g e , a c t u a l l y ? 106. C: J u s t as a coroner's w a r r a n t t o h o l d t h e s e p e o p l e u n t i l such time as i s found out why t h i s p e r s o n i s dead. 107. I: As cause o f d e a t h has been d e t e r m i n e d . 108. C: And b a s i c a l l y , u s u a l l y t o sober them up. Or because t h e y might d i s a p p e a r i f t h e y got l o s t a g a i n . 109. I: R i g h t . 110. C: These p e o p l e a r e p r e t t y nomadic, you know, the y don't s t a y i n one p l a c e . 111. I: A t tomorrow's - what time i s tomorrow's i n q u e s t ? 112. C: 1:30. 113. I: A t 1:30. And t h a t ' s a p u b l i c i n q u e s t . 114. C: S u r e . 79. 115. I: Is i t possible for me then to come i f I was (( )) 116. C: Sure, i f you wanna come down anytime. 117. I: I can -118. C: Sure. 119. I: And is i t a l l right to tape record or is there some restriction in the..in your courtroom? 120. C: None at a l l . No. 121. I: Of course, a l l of these tape recordings w i l l be kept confidential. 122. C: No, that doesn't matter. As far as we're con-erned this i s an open court. As I say, this i s the openest court in the land. 123. I: Mm-hmm. 124. C: For that matter i f you want to go on the jury you can go on the jury. 125. I: I'd be interested in doing that one of these times. 126. C: Well, suit yourself. T e l l the corporal you'll be available sometime. This won't be very long. (( )) You just go i n , view the remains and hear the doctor's (( )). You can ask questions as a juror i f you want to and just (( )) . 127. I: Oh great. 128. C: You'll only be about 10-15 minutes. 129. I: At this inquest. 130. C: Yeah. 131. I: And i t starts at 1:30 in your courtroom. 132. C: Yeah, you be down here at 1:20. 133. I: I think I ' l l try to come down tomorrow and bring a machine with me. 134. C: Whatever you like to do. 135. I: I think after the man I work for hears the tape I ' l l have a lot more questions. (( )) 136. C: I'm just wondering i f I have a book or two I could lend you. 137. I: That would be great. ***** E. 1. C: ...whether you c a l l i t a medical examiner or a coroner...it's a medical-legal office trying to determine cause of death so that the inno-cent won't be found guilty and so that the guilty won't get away. To that end, i t ' s mainly 3 departments. Your investigating, namely the police. Your pathologist - the pathologist doing the autopsy, and the toxicological, the chemist. And I s i t on top, sort of a pyramidi, to make sure they a l l function, and just administrate the thing in a sense that the result a l l comes out. 2. I: Does the fact that you're in a port city make any difference to 80. t h e k i n d o f c a s e s you have t o d e a l w i t h ? 3. C: Oh, I t h i n k i t d o e s . V e r y e l e m e n t a r y , i n t h a t s e n s e . We j u s t had 8 American s a i l o r s drowned o u t i n the m i d d l e o f the P a c i f i c b r ought i n by a R u s s i a n s h i p -4. I: Ah, r i g h t . 5. C: and a l l t h e t h i n g s t h a t g e t i n v o l v e d i n t h a t . 6. I : A r e y o u r e s p o n s i b l e f o r i s s u i n g c e r t i f i c a t e s -7. C: Yeah, we d i d i t t h i s way, because i t was i m p o s s i b l e t o g e t an i n -t e r n a t i o n a l c e r t i f i c a t e t h a t was a c c e p t a b l e by anybody. 8. I: R i g h t . 9. C: Whereas t h e Americans would a c c e p t a B r i t i s h Columbia r e g i s t r a t i o n o f d e a t h h e r e , we assumed t h e y were c e r t i f i e d dead on a r r i v a l a t Van c o u v e r . A l t h o u g h t h e r e were 2 R u s s i a n d o c t o r s on b o a r d t h e R u s s i a n s h i p , 2 women d o c t o r s . 10. I: They were? 11. C: Oh y e a h . But the p o i n t - t h e y c e r t i f i e d them dead 800 m i l e s s o u t h -west o f K o d i a k , w e l l , what's t h a t , t h a t ' s j u s t a l a t i t u d e and a l o n g i t u d e . . No, when you ask about s e a p o r t , t h a t makes a b i g d i f f e r e n c e , no doubt about i t . I happen t o have a deep-sea master's t i c k e t so I'm f a m i l i a r w i t h s h i p s and t h e problems t h e s e guys c a n g e t i n t o . 12. I: Yeah, I sp e n t some time aboard s h i p a few y e a r s ago. 13. C: D i d you? (( )) ***** F. 1. I: W e l l , thank you v e r y much f o r t a l k i n g t o me. 2. C: W e l l , as you i n d i c a t e d y o u r s e l f you go ahead and s o r t o f see what e l s e you want t o come back and ask me. 3. I : R i g h t . And t h e n I c o u l d come back a t some time -4. C: Anytime -5. I: and watch t h e c o u r t . Or t a l k t o y o u . 6. C: Oh y e a h . Or i n t e r v i e w my p a t h o l o g i s t . 7. I: T h a t ' d be g r e a t . 8. C: I ' l l t a k e you down, i n t r o d u c e you t o t h e c h e m i s t i f youve got tim e t o t a l k w i t h him. 9. I : I ' l l p r o b a b l y have l o t s o f t i m e . ***** G. 1. I: What happens t o a l l o f t h o s e t h a t a r e n ' t c o r o n e r ' s c a s e s , under t h e Not C o r o n e r ' s Cases? 2. C: W e l l , i n t h o s e c a s e s we've been a b l e t o f i n d a d o c t o r who's compet-81. ant and w i l l i n g t o s i g n t he d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e . 3. I : Uh-hmm. 4. C: So i t ' s no c o n c e r n o f o u r s . 5. I : How does t h i s compare t o the t o t a l number o f d eaths i n the c i t y o-v e r a y e a r ? 6. C: Yeah. L e t me p u t i t t h i s way. I n t h e p r o v i n c e o f B r i t i s h Columbia 15,000 p e o p l e d i e a, y e a r . About 5,000 o f them d i e i n V a n c o u v e r . We g e t about a f i f t h o f t h o s e . 7. I: You g o t 1100 b o d i e s a t C i t y Morgue. And a l l t h e r e s t o f them a r e -the r e g i s t r a t i o n o f d e a t h form i s s i g n e d by a d o c t o r and the p e r s o n i s j u s t r o u t i n e l y b u r i e d / h a n d l e d by t h e f u n e r a l p a r l o r . 8. C: The p e r m i t i s i s s u e d t o the f u n e r a l p a r l o r and we're not c o n c e r n e d . 9. I : R i g h t . 10. C: But h o s p i t a l s w i l l c o n t a c t u s , and our f a l l b a c k i n t h i s whole s y s -tem - and I've g o t a c a l l i n h e r e from V i t a l S t a t s o v e r i n V i c t o r i a . V i t a l S t a t s w i l l have one f i n a l check t o see i f t h e d o c t o r who s i g n e d and we weren't n o t i f i e d , has i n f a c t g o t enough i n f o r m a t i o n on t h e r e t o have s i g n e d , b e f o r e t h e y ' l l g i v e t h e p e r m i t t o b u r y . They do a f i n a l check on the o t h e r 4,000 you might s a y . 11. I: But f o r t h e o t h e r 4,000 i n t h i s c i t y , does y o u r department have t o i s s u e t he p e r m i t t o the f u n e r a l p a r l o r ? 12. C: No, t h a t comes from v i t a l s t a t i s t i c s . ***** 82. 2. L e g a l , S t a t i s t i c a l , Documentary and O b s e r v a t i o n a l F o r m u l a t i o n s In a d d i t i o n t o v e r b a l f o r m u l a t i o n s , d e s c r i p t i o n s , a c c o u n t s o f t h e ac-t i v i t i e s o f the c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e p r o v i d e d by members o f t h e i n s t i t u t i o n (which ranged i n c h a r a c t e r from statements o f g o a l s and o v e r a l l p u r p o s e s , t o s t e p - b y - s t e p d e s c r i p t i o n s - i n ^ g e n e r a l o f 'what we do h e r e ' , t o a c c o u n t s o f how p a r t i c u l a r d e t a i l s o f p a r t i c u l a r c a s e s were t r e a t e d , i n t h e c o u r s e o f the r e s e a r c h I e n c o u n t e r e d a n o t h e r s e t o f m a t e r i a l s p e r t i n e n t t o my ethno-g r a p h i c c o n c e r n s . In t h i s s e c t i o n I wish t o d i s p l a y t h e 1960 C o r o n e r s A c t o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , r e l e v a n t p o r t i o n s o f the 1960 V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s A c t o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , s t a t i s t i c s o f 'Coroner's C a s e s ' , 1969-71, and a document e n t i -t l e d ' H i s t o r y o f t h e B e g i n n i n g o f t h e C o r o n e r ' s Department and D u t i e s ' , and o f f e r some b r i e f comments on them and o t h e r c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e I g a t h e r e d t h r o u g h c a s u a l e n c o u n t e r s and o b s e r v a t i o n . In t h e c o u r s e o f i n t e r v i e w i n g t h e c o r o n e r t h e r e were s e v e r a l seem-ingly-mundane c o n v e r s a t i o n a l exchanges w h i c h , a t t h e t i m e , I t r e a t e d as s i m p l y ' p r o v i d i n g f a c t u a l i n f o r m a t i o n ' , b u t which now can be viewed from a s t r u c t u r a l p e r s p e c t i v e F o r example, i n segment B. 49-52, we f i n d ; > the f o l l o w i n g exchange: 49. I : F o r each dead body t h a t comes w i t h i n y o u r p u r v i e w y o u ' r e r e q u i r e d t o p r o v i d e some s o r t o f l a b e l ? 50. C: As you can see by the d e a t h c e r t i f i c a t e i n f r o n t o f y o u . . .51. I : Y e s . 52. C: Then I go down t o s e c t i o n 26 and i f i t ' s an u n n a t u r a l d e a t h I g o t t a c l a s s i f y i t as a c c i d e n t , s u i c i d e o r h o m i c i d e . What I have i n mind h e r e i s something l i k e : what i s t h e f o r c e b e h i n d the ' r e q u i r e m e n t ' p r o p o s e d and a s s e n t e d t o i n B. 49-50 o r the ' g o t t a ' i n B. 52? There i s a sense i n which t h e s e i n s t a n c e s o f e x p r e s s i o n s o f con-s t r a i n t (on what can be done) a r e ambiguous i n t h a t t h e y can p r i m a r i l y be 83. h e a r d as ' t h i s i s what you have t o do i n o r d e r t o g e t t h e j o b done'. A second sense i n which t h e y can be u n d e r s t o o d i s as ' l e g a l ' r e q u i r e m e n t s . Other u t t e r a n c e s i n t h e i n t e r v i e w d i s p l a y v a r y i n g degrees o f i n -c r e a s e d e x p l i c i t n e s s o f t h e second sense i n which t h e s e e x p r e s s e d con-s t r a i n t s can be u n d e r s t o o d . I n u t t e r a n c e B. 9 the c o r o n e r p r o p o s e s 'you've got t o have t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n b e f o r e V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s w i l l a c c e p t t h e Reg-i s t r a t i o n o f Death and t h e n g i v e you a p e r m i t t o b u r y o r cr e m a t e ' . The e x p l i c i t r e f e r e n c e t o V i t a l S t a t i s t i c s as an i n s t i t u t i o n d i m i n i s h e s t h e sense o f s i m p l y 'these a r e t h e work p r o c e d u r e s ' and i n c r e a s e s t h e s e n s e , I t a k e i t , i n which we a r e t o h e a r something l i k e 'these a r e t h e work p r o c e -d u r e s ' and i n c r e a s e s t h e s e n s e , I take i t , i n which we a r e t o hear some-t h i n g l i k e 'these a r e t h e r u l e s and r e g u l a t i o n s t h a t we a r e f o r m a l l y ob-l i g e d t o adhere t o " . In u t t e r a n c e D. 50, t h e c o r o n e r p r o p o s e s t h a t t h e o r -d e r o f e v e n t s o f a p a r t i c u l a r t y p e o f i n q u e s t a r e grounded upon 'there hav-i n g been a charge l a i d under S e c t i o n E i g h t ' and he r e we see the sense o f ' t h i s i s what we have t o do t o g e t t h e j o b done' e x p l i c i t l y r e l a t e d t o an u l t i m a t e documentary r e s o u r c e s I n t h i s r e p o r t , we adopt t h e p e r s p e c t i v e o f s e e i n g what i s l i t e r a l l y done as c o n s t i t u t i n g a ' d e f i n i t i o n ' o f 'what t h e C o r o n e r ' s O f f i c e i s ' , and t o uncover t h e s e d e f i n i t i o n s , we a r e a l s o c o n c e r n e d w i t h what i s a v a i l a b l e t o members and how t h e y go about making r a t i o n a l , r e a s o n a b l e , and c o h e r e n t t o each o t h e r and t o the p u b l i c what t h e y d o . I t i s from t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e t h a t we can see the f u n c t i o n o f such t h i n g s as the C o r o n e r s A c t and o t h e r l e g a l f o r m u l a t i o n s about t h e i n s t i t u t i o n n o t merely as p r o v i d i n g f o r what goes on - w h i c h , i n p a r t , i t does do - b u t a l s o , w i t h i n t h e i n s t i t u t i o n , as an a v a i l a b l e r e s o u r c e f o r making r a t i o n a l what i s done. I've s u g g e s t e d ( i n p a r t I , s e c t i o n 2) t h a t a g e n e r a l c o n c e r n o f t h i s e n t e r p r i s e i s t o e x p l i c a t e t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between e x p r e s s i o n s o f r e a s o n -84. a b l e n e s s , f o r m a l r a t i o n a l e s (such as l e g a l d o c u m e n t a t i o n ) , and a perhaps un-a r t i c u l a t e d amorphous body o f t r a d i t i o n , custom and h a b i t . ( P h i l o s o p h i c a l l y , I'm s u g g e s t i n g t h a t t h e s o c i e t y ' s a b i l i t y t o c o - o r d i n a t e and make congru-ent t h e s e t h i n g s i s what c o n s t i t u t e s a d i s p l a y o r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f a s o c i -e t y ' s r a t i o n a l i t y , o r c o n v e r s e l y , i t i s t h e p r o c e d u r e o f p o i n t i n g t o i n c o n -g r u i t i e s between s a y , what an i n s t i t u t i o n d o e s , what t h e law r e q u i r e s i t t o d o , and what p e o p l e g e n e r a l l y b e l i e v e ought t o be done t h a t c o n s t i t u t e s a d i s p l a y o f s o c i e t a l i r r a t i o n a l i t y . V a r i o u s c o m b i n a t i o n s o f i n c o n g r u i t y be-tween i n s t i t u t i o n a l p r a c t i c e s , l e g a l r e q u i r e m e n t s and p u b l i c o p i n i o n w i t h r e -s p e c t t o such t o p i c s as ' m a r i j u a n a ' and ' h o m o s e x u a l i t y ' would be c a s e s i n p o i n t o f t h e argument b e i n g p r e s e n t e d here.) A l t h o u g h s t r i c t l y s p e a k i n g , t h i s i s a d i g r e s s i o n , t h e p o i n t i s o f s u f f i c i e n t i m p o r t a n c e , I t h i n k , t o m e r i t f u r t h e r comment. In an i n t e r v i e w w i t h the morgue t e c h n i c i a n (to be d i s p l a y e d s u b s e q u e n t l y ) t h e f o l l o w i n g r e -marks a r e exchanged i n segment A. 155 f f . : 155. I: So t h i s what - a j a i l d eath? 156. MT: J a i l d e a t h . 157. I : You're r e q u i r e d t o do i n q u e s t s on a l l o f t h e s e ? 158. MT: A l l j a i l d e a t h s , y e s . 159. I : I t ' s j a i l d e a t h s , and what e l s e a r e you r e q u i r e d -160. MT: Oh, j a i l d e a t h s , t r a f f i c a c c i d e n t s u s u a l l y , and a l l homi-c i d e s , o f c o u r s e , and i n d u s t r i a l c a s e s . . . . With t h e i s s u e s r a i s e d above i n mind, I'm c o n c e r n e d , i n examining t h i s segment, b o t h w i t h how i t i s t h a t c e r t a i n c a s e s g e t t o be i n q u e s t s and a l s o w i t h t h e degree o f r e a s o n a b l e n e s s t h e morgue t e c h n i c i a n can presume any g i v e n c a t e g o r y can i n i t s e l f p r o v i d e w i t h i n t he c o n t e x t o f t h e d i s c u s s i o n . I n t u i t i v e l y , I f i n d t h e f o l l o w i n g d i s t i n c t i o n s : 1. The paradigm o f congruent r a t i o n a l i t y o c c u r s i n the f o r m u l a t i o n ' a l l h o m i c i d e s o f c o u r s e ' (which e x a c t f o r m u l a t i o n , by the way, was p r e v i o u s -l y n o t e d i n the remarks on t h e c o r o n e r ' s i n t e r v i e w as perhaps i n d i c a t i n g a 8 5 . degree o f ' a u t o m a t i c n e s s ' i n d e c i d i n g t o h o l d an i n q u e s t ) . By t h i s I mean I h e a r an a p p e a l t o something more t h a n t h e mere a v a i l a b i l i t y o f r e f e r e n c e t o a l e g a l r e q u i r e m e n t t o h o l d an i n q u e s t on a l l h o m i c i d e s - an a p p e a l t o a presumed s h a r e d common sense view t h a t such a p r o c e e d i n g i s a p p r o p r i a t e and r e a s o n a b l e . 2. In the f o r m u l a t i o n ' a l l j a i l d e a t h s ' t h e a v a i l a b l e r e s o u r c e seems t o r e l y more on l e g a l r e q u i r e m e n t s . That i s , I i n t u i t i v e l y s u s p e c t t h a t i t would 'make more s e n s e1 t o a s k , 'Why does t h e law r e q u i r e you t o h o l d i n -q u e s t s on a l l j a i l d e a t h s ? ' t h a n i t would t o ask a s i m i l a r q u e s t i o n w i t h r e -s p e c t t o h o m i c i d e s where t he i n t e r v i e w e e would have the ' r i g h t ' t o expect y o u , as an o r d i n a r y competent member o f t h e s o c i e t y t o see why i t ' s ' o b v i o u s ' an i n q u e s t s h o u l d be h e l d , whereas, w i t h r e s p e c t t o j a i l d eaths i t would be ' r e a s o n a b l e ' f o r t h e i n t e r v i e w e e t o see p r o f e r r e d r a t i o n a l e s as c o n t a i n i n g ' t e c h n i c i a l ' i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t an o r d i n a r y competent member c o u l d n ' t be ex-p e c t e d t o have knowledge o f . 3 . 1 r e a d t h e f o r m u l a t i o n ' t r a f f i c a c c i d e n t s u s u a l l y ' as i n d i c a t i n g t h a t t h e c o r o n e r ' s o f f i c e d oesn't have a v a i l a b l e , as a r e s o u r c e f o r ma-k i n g r e a s o n a b l e t h e h o l d i n g o f i n q u e s t s i n such c a s e s , an e x p l i c i t l e g a l r e q u i r e m e n t (though i t may be p o s s i b l e t o p o i n t t o g e n e r a l f e a t u r e s o f , s a y , t h e C o r o n e r s A c t , as p r o v i d i n g such a r a t i o n a l e ) , b u t i n s t e a d must base a d i s p l a y o f t h e i r r e a s o n a b l e n e s s on a r e s o u r c e o f common s e n s e . The c l u e t o a v a i l a b l e l e g a l r e s o u r c e s f o r r a t i o n a l e s , i n t h i s c a s e , i s p r o v i d e d by t h e word ' u s u a l l y ' , o c c u r r i n g as i t d o e s , as the c o n s t r a s t i v e member o f t h e s e t ' a l l / u s u a l l y ' , where ' a l l ' i s t o be r e a d as i n d i c a t i n g a l e g a l r e q u i r e m e n t t o h o l d an i n q u e s t and ' u s u a l l y ' i n f e r s t h a t t h e h o l d i n g o f an i n q u e s t i s l e f t t o t h e d i s c r e t i o n o f t h e c o r o n e r . And, i n f a c t , i n t h e i n -t e r v i e w c i t e d , t h e morgue t e c h n i c i a n does go on t o o f f e r some h y p o t h e t i c a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s t h a t a p p e a l t o one's common sense t o see why i t would be ap-86. p r o p r i a t e t o h o l d i n q u e s t s i n such c a s e s . The second s e c t i o n o f t h e c o r o n e r ' s a c t , i m m e d i a t e l y f o l l o w i n g upon the r u l e s o f a p p o i n t i n g and p a y i n g c o r o n e r s , e s t a b l i s h e s and o f f e r s p r o -cedures f o r i n q u e s t s . Paragraph 7.(1) o f t h e C o r o n e r s A c t s a y s , "Where a Coroner i s i n f o r m e d t h a t t h e dead body o f a p e r s o n i s l y i n g w i t h i n h i s j u r i s d i c t i o n , and t h e r e i s r e a s o n a b l e cause t o s u s p e c t t h a t t h e p e r s o n has d i e d e i t h e r a v i o l e n t o r an u n n a t u r a l d e a t h , o r has d i e d a sudden d e a t h o r which the cause i s unknown, o r t h a t t h e p e r s o n has d i e d i n p r i -s o n , o r i n such p l a c e o r under such c i r c u m s t a n c e s as t o r e q u i r e an i n q u e s t i n pursuance o f any A c t , t h e C o r o n e r . . . s