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Title: Introspective projection : prototypical representations of policing in the service of rule of law
Authors: Sammut, Gordon
Mifsud, Rebekah
Brockdorff, Noellie
Keywords: Law enforcement -- Malta -- Public opinion
Rule of law -- Malta
Group identity -- Malta -- Attitudes
Caruana Galizia, Daphne, 1964-2017
Law enforcement -- Technological innovations
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Sammut, G., Mifsud, R., & Brockdorff, N. (2021). Introspective projection : prototypical representations of policing in the service of rule of law. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 1-16.
Abstract: Mass protests that have taken place over the past decade in various Western democracies have called into question the role of police in society, as officers have employed measures to contain rallies protesting for or against various issues. A number of these protests have resorted to violent means, resisting the police or protesting directly against their role and methods. The present study sought to investigate the prototypical representations of the police that lay citizens use to forge or desist identification with police officers. Social identification enables citizens to consider the police as ingroup members, facilitating respect for their authority. Conversely, identifying the police as outgroup precipitates resistance. The study involved 41 in-depth interviews carried out with citizens of Malta between May and June 2020. Thematic Networks Analysis revealed various points of consensus as well as a number of controversial themes. In particular, respondents demonstrated sceptical attitudes regarding policing on the beat for fear of overfamiliarity, rooted in introspective attributions projected at the police as merely human. Moreover, respondents expressed support for technological innovations that overcome natural psychological tendencies. The findings of this study suggest that seeking increasing trust in the police may be a red herring for policymakers. Rather, efforts should be directed at developing inter-objective systems, (e.g. body-cams), that overcome individual psychological propensities.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacSoWCri

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