Police culture, talk and action: narratives in ethnographic data

auteurs Elizabeth R. Turner
  Mike Rowe
tijdschrift EJPS (ISSN: 2034-760X)
jaargang Volume 5
aflevering Special Issue: Observing the observers: Ethnographies of the social world of the police
onderdeel Articles
publicatie datum 30 mei 2017
taal English
pagina 52
keywords police culture, Ethnography

The idea of police culture is almost as old as the field of police studies itself, and has been traced to
the coincidence of concerns about violent and discriminatory police conduct with shifts in intellectual
fashion, including a turn towards ethnography. This article considers some criticisms of the idea of
police culture before engaging with a recent narrative turn in analysis. Drawing on fieldnotes from
an ongoing ethnographic study of police in England it explores the use of a narrative approach to
fieldnotes. The article concludes that extending the narrative approach to police work in this way
shows significant potential for developing our understanding of why police behave as they do.
Ethnography alone can provide the kinds of unique insights into overlapping and interconnected
narratives that help to situate and order the particularities of police work in relation to the broader
social and political context.