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Narratives of Conviction and the Re-storying of ‘Offenders’

The Emerald Handbook of Narrative Criminology

ISBN: 978-1-78769-006-6, eISBN: 978-1-78769-005-9

Publication date: 7 October 2019


In our chapter we describe the analysis of categorisations as an important part of narrative criminology. Categorisations of people (as offenders, victims, witnesses, etc.) are a central component of the communicative construction and processing of crime. Categories are associated with assumptions about actions and personal characteristics. Therefore, categorisations play a prominent role in the question of whether and how someone should be dealt with or punished. Narratives essentially consist of categorisations as well as the representation of a temporal course of interactions and actions. Analysing categorisations can therefore provide decisive insights for narrative criminology. With the research method of ‘Membership Categorisation Analysis’, categorisations can be reconstructed in detail. We describe this potential by reconstructing how the defendant ‘Dave’ categorised himself in the context of his main trial and how he was categorised by others in order to justify a judgement against him. Our analysis shows that categorisations, which are socially impactful and often controversial, must be established by particular narrative manoeuvres.



(2019), "Narratives of Conviction and the Re-storying of ‘Offenders’", Dollinger, B., Heppchen, S., Fleetwood, J., Presser, L., Sandberg, S. and Ugelvik, T. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Narrative Criminology, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 303-320.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019 Bernd Dollinger and Selina Heppchen