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Police ethnography: the classic era

Newburn, Tim (2023) Police ethnography: the classic era. In: Routledge International Handbook of Police Ethnography. Taylor and Francis Inc., pp. 13-33. ISBN 9780367539399

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Identification Number: 10.4324/9781003083795-3


This chapter focuses on what here is referred to as the ‘classic era’ of police ethnography. A great many of the foundational works in the field of police studies, a field that emerged from the 1960s onward, were based on ethnographic fieldwork. Their authors used the classic methods of participant observation to investigate the everyday realities of policework and to delve behind the official ideological representations of such activity. Much of what is now known about policing-the limits of formal social control, the craft and culture of policing, and its largely discretionary nature-emerged from these studies. Despite the huge and subject-defining impact that ethnography had in this early period, such in-depth and focused fieldwork gradually became less fashionable and fell out of favour as the century progressed. More recently, however, such work has seen something of a renaissance, one involving a wider range of scholars and a broader geographical focus of investigation than was true of the original Anglo-America-dominated studies.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences
K Law
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2023 13:54
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 20:04

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