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Crowd policing, police legitimacy and identity: the social psychology of procedural justice

Radburn, Matthew Stephen (2017) Crowd policing, police legitimacy and identity: the social psychology of procedural justice. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Radburn_MS_Business_PhD_2017.pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
Restricted until 1 February 2021.


This PhD was motivated to explore the applicability and explanatory power of procedural justice theory (PJT) in the context of the policing of crowd events. It has been suggested that “questions of social identity lie at the heart of the theory” (Bradford 2016, p. 3). Yet PJT researchers have largely overlooked the insights of the ‘second stage’ of theorising that constitutes the social identity approach – self-categorisation theory (SCT) – and the subsequent application of SCT to collective action within crowds and public order policing. Because of this it is argued that there are certain conceptual and methodological limitations that relate to how PJT can ‘make sense’ of or otherwise explain police–public interactions within the domain of public order policing. Despite PJT being rooted in “in efforts to understand and explain riots and rebellion” (Tyler and Blader 2003, p. 351), there has been a paucity of research focussing specifically on the police’s management of crowds (Stott et al. 2011). This thesis used a mixed methods approach involving online experiments, semi-structured interviews and an online survey. The final empirical chapter then drew on a longitudinal secondary data analysis of a series of ‘real-time’ police-‘public’ interactions across multiple crowd events. The thesis suggests that it is essential that both PJT and its associated research are process and context orientated. A true process model of procedural justice is required to explore the interactive and bi-directional nature of the relationship between social context, identity, police legitimacy and action. It is argued that the current social psychological understandings of procedural justice do not adequately articulate this dynamism. Yet developing the process model of procedural justice is essential to avoid unintentionally ‘desocialising’ people’s experiences of policing and to therefore reaffirm the need to study the social psychological processes of PJT in context.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Police legitimacy, social identity, procedural justice, crowds, policing
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Leeds University Business School
Depositing User: Mr. Matthew Stephen Radburn
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2018 11:40
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2018 11:40
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19118

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