Reading the police: examining fictional representations of the police

Thomas, Matthew (2008) Reading the police: examining fictional representations of the police. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    The genre of crime fiction is tremendously popular, with crime fiction novels accounting for about a quarter of all fictional sales in the United Kingdom and the United States (Reiner 1997: 206). As such, Reading the police: examining fictional representations of the police analyses selected portrayals of police detectives in popular culture, specifically in crime fiction, in relation to police culture and investigates police perceptions of popular cultural representations of police. It also identifies possible consequences of crime fiction portrayals of police for stakeholders, the police themselves, and media consumers. These aims were achieved with an investigation of existing research concerning police culture leading to the provision of a 'working police culture personality', based on an amalgamation of four core police culture characteristics as identified by two seminal studies. This workable definition was then used as a framework for a case study analysis of selected crime fiction texts in relation to similarities and disparities with police culture. Police perceptions were then explored using the mixed methods of the email questionnaire and semi-structured interview. The research findings were then compiled and examined so as to hypothesise regarding the potential consequences of media representations of the police. It was found that the case studies showed broad similarity with police culture, although some disparity did exist, and that police officers found media representations of the police to be on the whole inaccurate, and that whilst they did not believe fictional media makers to have a responsibility in regard to the manner in which they portray the police, it was perceived that the news media should have a much greater accountability where their coverage of the police is concerned. It was hypothesised that police and public relations could suffer as a result of media representations of the police.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/624

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