Institutional Power

  • Georgina Heydon


The analysis of myths underlying the discourse of police interviews in the previous chapter indicates that issues concerning the institutional distribution of power are central to police beliefs about the process of eliciting a confession from a suspect. It is possible to observe, for instance, that conflicts arise between the level of power available to police interviewers and the level of power actually required to conduct a successful interview. Such general observations offer a direction for further discussion of the findings, namely the relationship between the institutional features of the discourse, the construction of police power and the implications of police beliefs about power and domination for the interview as a social practice. We will first undertake a review of the findings of the initial textual analyses in Chapters 3 and 4 in relation to the construction of police power in the discourse structure. Drawing on the CDA notion of discourse constituting society and culture through ‘representations, relations and identity’ (Fairclough and Wodak 1997), we will investigate the construction of conflicting suspect identities by the participants, and in particular, the way that these identities are designed to address different functional requirements by each participant.


Police Officer Information Gathering Police Behaviour Participant Role Discursive Practice 
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Copyright information

© Georgina Heydon 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgina Heydon
    • 1
  1. 1.Monash UniversityAustralia

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