Exploring cultural criminology: The police world in fiction

In my 2017 presidential address to the European Society of Criminology (ESC) in Cardiff, I explored the representation of the police and police work in contemporary European novels, and compared and contrasted how the police and policing are dealt with in popular fiction and in the relevant scholarl...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:European journal of criminology
Main Author: Selmini, Rossella (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: [2020]
In:European journal of criminology
Year: 2020, Volume: 17, Issue: 5, Pages: 501-517
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:In my 2017 presidential address to the European Society of Criminology (ESC) in Cardiff, I explored the representation of the police and police work in contemporary European novels, and compared and contrasted how the police and policing are dealt with in popular fiction and in the relevant scholarly literature. I selected unusually literate works that provide insights into policing in diverse countries and cultures, in which the main characters are middle-aged male policemen who share some characteristics: cynical but idealistic, empathetic rather than taciturn, restrained not aggressive, resistant to authority but dedicated to their mission. My main arguments are that contemporary fiction depicts police work with a greater verisimilitude than occurred in the past and in ways that parallel scholarly work on police culture. Police scholars’ assumptions about differences between real police work and fictional accounts are challenged, particularly when we look at how the police do their work and live their lives rather than at the types of crime they deal with. These characterizations of European police work and culture may particularly address and appeal to a specific sector of readers, a liberal and progressive public, and interrogate whether and how this kind of representation relates to contemporary theoretical models of procedural justice. Distinctively European models of police and policing emerge, despite some national peculiarities.
ISSN:1741-2609
DOI:10.1177/1477370820939362