Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


9 August 2017

A suspected criminal’s accounts in a police interview setting

Presented By Louise White
  • 1-2.30pm (a DARG event)
  • B1.14 Brockington Building

About this event

I will present data taken from a police interview in which a suspect is being accused of assaulting his neighbour. The extract I will be bringing focuses on the phase of the police interview where the police officer asks questions to clarify or challenge parts of the suspect’s account, and where the suspect responds to these.

I am interested how the suspect in this interview responds in a way that discursively distances himself from blame or guilt, through both his formulation of ‘what really happened’ and his formulation of himself as part of this. I am also interested in how the criminal accusation and the suspect’s response to it take place within the context of the police interview setting, how this may compare to the ways this is done in more public or non-legal interactional settings, and the extent to which this demonstrates the relevance (or irrelevance) of the affordances of the settings.

For the particular analytic chapter I am working on at the moment, I am exploring:

  • how do the speakers claim entitlement to knowledge?
  • how is evidence used to reinforce an ‘objective’ truth or fact?
  • how are versions of events (both the suspect’s and the alleged victim's) challenged?

However, I would be very interested to hear any and all insights on the data!