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Media representations and police officers’ identity work in a specialised police tactical unit
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Police Education Unit at Umeå University.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1440-0470
2016 (English)In: Policing & society, ISSN 1043-9463, E-ISSN 1477-2728, Vol. 26, no 1, 97-113 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A growing body of research has highlighted how media representations of policing and contemporary police work are interconnected and influence each other. An under- explored dimension of this relation is how mediated representations of policing transfer meaning to police officers’ sensemaking of their occupational identities. With the aim of advancing knowledge on this issue, the following article reports a case study of a tactical police unit and explores what roles media representations of the unit play in serving police officers’ narrative ‘identity work’ relative to their work and their organisation. Methodologically, the article draws on an analysis of newspaper articles about the studied police unit and interviews with police officers working within the unit. The findings indicate that positively biased representations depicting the unit as heroic and elite had self-enhancing effects on police officers’ identifications, whilst critically oriented media narratives spurred reframing and projection of local counter- images of occupational work identity. These findings add to the present understanding of how the media affect real-life policing, by highlighting how these representations convey meanings to police practice and occupational identification.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 26, no 1, 97-113 p.
Keyword [en]
police identity, media, police-media relations, identity work, specialised policing Introduction
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-91809DOI: 10.1080/10439463.2014.942844ISI: 000366204200006ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84949519652OAI: diva2:738338
Available from: 2014-08-18 Created: 2014-08-18 Last updated: 2016-01-25Bibliographically approved

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Rantatalo, Oscar
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