Trumping communitarianism: crime control and forensic DNA typing and databasing in Singapore

Toom, Victor (2014) Trumping communitarianism: crime control and forensic DNA typing and databasing in Singapore. East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal, 8 (3). pp. 273-296. ISSN 1875-2160

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Liberalism and communitarianism have figured prominently in discussions of how to govern forensic DNA practices (forensic DNA typing and databasing). Despite the prominence of these two political philosophies and their underlying values, no studies have looked at the governance of forensic DNA practices in a nondemocratic country governed by a communitarian logic. To fill this lacuna in the literature, this article considers Singapore as an authoritarian state governed by a communitarian philosophy. The article highlights basic innovations and technologies of forensic DNA practices and articulates a liberal democratic version of “biolegality” as described by Michael Lynch and Ruth McNally. It goes on to consider briefly various (political) philosophies (liberalism and communitarianism) and law enforcement models (due process and crime control models). The main part of the article records the trajectory, and hence biolegal progress, of forensic DNA practices in Singapore and compares it with trajectories in England and the United States. The article concludes that Singapore's forensic DNA practices are organized according to the crime control model and therefore safety and the war against crime and terrorism trump individual rights and legal principles such as privacy, bodily integrity, proportionality, presumption of innocence. and onus of proof.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communitarianism, liberalism, crime control model, law enforcement, Singapore, governance, forensic DNA typing
Subjects: F400 Forensic and Archaeological Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2013 10:54
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 06:47

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