Journal article Open Access

Egon Bittner and the Language Practices of the Police

Meehan, Albert J. (Author)


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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;Bittner&amp;rsquo;s posthumously published 1965 fieldwork, Larimer Tours (Bittner 2013 [1965]), is discussed exploring how criminology has neglected Bittner&amp;rsquo;s ethnomethodological stance and overlooked his interest in language and conversational practices. Technological records (e.g.,dash-cams, body-worn cameras) afford opportunities to extend Bittner&amp;rsquo;s seminal work with an ethnomethodological focus on police &amp;ldquo;competencies-in-action&amp;rdquo; through the study of recorded police-citizen interaction. Using data from dash-cam traffic stops and field research, this paper elaborates two competencies of the police discussed in Larimer-the use of area knowledge and procedures of interrogation. A focus on how area knowledge is utilized in an investigatory sequence of traffic stops demonstrates its interactional complexity and how &amp;ldquo;area knowledge&amp;rdquo; employed by police and citizens is made interactionally relevant and consequential to the traffic stop. Implications for criminology and the study of police-citizen interaction are discussed.&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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