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Title [sv]
Samspel och interaktion i svenska polisförhör: Fokus på objektivitet, frågekonstruktioner och polisens omformuleringar
Title [en]
Interactional Patterns in Swedish Police Interviews: ´Doing Objectivity´ when Asking Information Seeking Questions and Producing Reformulation
Abstract [en]
In a state governed by the rule of law, police interviews (PIs) have to be carried out in an objective and impartial manner. Stakeholders’ rights must be considered in every aspect of the interview, yet, criticism has been raised concerning the police’s possibilities to conform to such principles (Polisens internrevision, 2020).This project examines Swedish PIs as a site where principles of rule of law are managed in situ, through interaction. Language is the primary tool for the police in interviews, still, few studies target interaction in high-stake Swedish PIs. We analyze all audio recordings from an investigation of a severe crime, with particular focus on how objectivity is enacted and performed through information seeking questioning, and in oral summaries of the interviewee’s statement. The theortical framework is Conversation Analysis (CA), which allows for thorough investigation of the micro-cosmos of actual PIs. Results will contribute scientifically to CA, Forensic Linguistics and Police Studies, and the project is also relevant to the Swedish Police Authority and the Police Education’s courses on interviewing techniques.Results are significant for understanding the micro-management of a state governed by rule of law. Increased knowledge on how PIs are interactionally accomplished through practices on the micro level, ultimately informs us about the social order on macro level. It is through language that principles of objectivity are accomplished.
Publications (1 of 1) Show all publications
Nyroos, L. (2024). I don’t Remember that: Negotiating Memories and Epistemic Claims in Swedish High-Stake Police Interviews. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, 37, 485-515
Open this publication in new window or tab >>I don’t Remember that: Negotiating Memories and Epistemic Claims in Swedish High-Stake Police Interviews
2024 (English)In: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, ISSN 0952-8059, E-ISSN 1572-8722, Vol. 37, p. 485-515Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper employs Conversation Analysis to investigate a specific interactional environment in Swedish police interviews (PIs): sequences where the interviewee asserts an inability to recollect specific events, and the police subsequently challenge this assertion. The police interview serves as a crucial setting for reconstructing past events and identifying the distribution of knowledge among participants. While previous research has delved into the cognitive mechanisms underlying memory retrieval in PIs, there exists a scarcity of empirical investigation of how memories and their associated knowledge are interactionally managed within this high-stakes activity. Prior Conversation Analytic studies exploring how epistemic dimensions shape social interaction form the theoretical basis for the current study, including research indicating how ‘forgetfulness’ can be strategically employed as an interactional resource. Only a few studies have targeted recorded high-stakes interviews in Swedish, and the lack of such is problematic since international research have highlighted the influence of cultural and social factors on conditions and outcomes. Data used for this study comprises anonymized audio recordings (N = 51) from a preliminary murder investigation, making a valuable contribution to the understanding of interactional practices in Swedish police interviews. Results indicate a discrepancy in orientation between the police and the interviewee. The former treats the memories as accessible knowables possible to retrieve, in contrast to the latter, who uses the police’s challenge as a vehicle for contesting the ‘impossible action of remembering.’

National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-52568 (URN)10.1007/s11196-023-10044-9 (DOI)001089599600003 ()2-s2.0-85174565934 (Scopus ID)
Swedish Research Council, 2021–03044
Available from: 2023-10-26 Created: 2023-10-26 Last updated: 2024-04-09Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorNyroos, Lina
Co-InvestigatorSöderlundh, Hedda
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
2022-01-01 - 2024-12-31
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)Social Sciences InterdisciplinarySpecific Languages
DiVA, id: project:2971Project, id: 2021-03044_VR