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NCJ Number: 161205 Find in a Library
Title: Humor in the Briefing Room: A Study of the Strategic Uses of Humor Among Police (From Administration and Management of Criminal Justice Organizations: A Book of Readings, Second Edition, P 245-262, 1994, Stan Stojkovic, et al, eds. -- See NCJ- 161200)
Author(s): M R Pogrebin; E O Poole
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Waveland Press, Inc.
Long Grove, IL 60047
Sale Source: Waveland Press, Inc.
4180 IL Route 83
Suite 101
Long Grove, IL 60047
United States of America
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article extends previous research on the role of humor in groups by exploring how police patrol officers incorporate humor as a strategic activity to ensure the integrity of their occupational work group; the authors identify how various types of humor are used to define situations relevant to police work and show how humor is situationally grounded in the social construction of the police occupation.
Abstract: Data were obtained between June 1985 and June 1986 as part of an ethnographic study of a medium-sized metropolitan police department in Colorado. The study examined the nature of interpersonal relationships among police patrol officers, focusing on humor and joking relationships as complex, patterned constructions of interpersonal behavior and as strategic activities serving various functions for the group. An effort was made to interpret and assign meaning to police humor by identifying how it was responsive to specific contextual situations and how it was consistent with normative properties of the more general occupational structure. Four types of humor were investigated: jocular aggression, audience degradation, diffusion of danger/tragedy, and normative neutralization. Study findings revealed that a serious theme expressed in jest rather than in earnest tended to dramatize the message. Humor provided a forum for presenting concerns without directly threatening the system that fostered them. As first-line supervisors, police sergeants occupied rather incongruous positions in the police organization, and interpersonal relationships between police sergeants and police patrol officers were structurally ambiguous. 25 references and 3 footnotes
Main Term(s): Police effectiveness
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Colorado; Group behavior; Group dynamics; Interpersonal relations; Police management; Police research
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