Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


28 November 2018

Samu Pehkonen - Three practices for delivering directives in policing

Presented By DARG

About this event

In my talk, I will discuss three practices for delivering directives effectively, yet in cooperation with the client, in police–citizen encounters. In the encounters studied, police officers are dealing with customers whose ability and/or willingness to comply with the directives may be lowered, due to too much alcohol or drugs. For this reason, the officers typically need to give multiple directives. Because repetition of directives is both time-consuming and may situationally lead to derogation of authority from the officers, they routinely 1) build up from their previous turns to produce further directives (I call this progressive & recipient-centered turn formulation of directives), 2) co-construct choral directive turns especially in transition sequences, and 3) verbalize ongoing bodily actions (as-if-directives) in order to progress with the task, while maintaining the co-operative nature. The data come from the Finnish reality TV-series Poliisit (COPS; total 170 hours) that depicts daily patrolling situations, with the emphasis on cases where officers are assisting immobile customers to wake up, to stand up or to get into the police car. My approach is Conversation and Multimodal Interaction Analytic.

The sample excerpt prepared for the DARG data session (‘Waking up a drunk’) comes from a collection of cases where officers are dealing with drunk customers. Here, the idea would be to return to the practices of delivering directives discussed in preceding the talk but also to look at the moral work and accounts done in the interaction.

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