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Monopolizing force?: police legitimacy and public attitudes towards the acceptability of violence

Jackson, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0003-2426-2219, Huq, Aziz Z., Bradford, Ben ORCID: 0000-0001-5480-5638 and Tyler, Tom R. (2013) Monopolizing force?: police legitimacy and public attitudes towards the acceptability of violence. Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 19 (4). pp. 479-497. ISSN 1076-8971 (Submitted)

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Identification Number: 10.1037/a0033852


Why do people believe that violence is acceptable? In this paper we study people’s normative beliefs about the acceptability of violence to achieve social control (as a substitute for the police, for self-protection and the resolution of disputes) and social change (through violent protests and acts to achieve political goals). Addressing attitudes towards violence among young men from various ethnic minority communities in London, we find that procedural justice is strongly correlated with police legitimacy, and that positive judgments about police legitimacy are associated with more negative views about the use of violence. We conclude with the idea that police legitimacy has an additional, hitherto unrecognized, empirical property – by constituting the belief that the police monopolise rightful force in society, legitimacy has a ‘crowding out’ effect on positive views of private violence.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 American Psychological Association
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 15 May 2013 10:35
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2024 23:54

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