Digital ritual: Police-public social media encounters and 'Authentic' interaction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article formulates the concept of digital ritual to characterise the continuum of symbolic encounters enabled by social media affordances, and to explain their solidarity-enhancing potential. Applying digital ritual to police uses of social media confirms this promise but also reveals risks of mediated authenticity. The article cautions against influencer styles of engagement that risk privileging popularity over probity in ways dangerous for police legitimacy. It is argued that insights from conceptualising online encounters as digital rituals can instead be marshalled to support an alternative ‘working personality of the digital cop’; one reflecting principles of candour and democratic policing that provide a sounder basis for establishing what ‘authentic’ online police-public interactions ought to look like.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalThe British Journal of Criminology: An International Review of Crime and Society (BJC)
Early online date23 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • digital ritual
  • interaction ritual
  • encounters
  • social media
  • policing
  • authentic


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