February 2nd — (*RM 3.58) Piotr Wegorowski: “They firefight. We do all the nitty gritty stuff”: Professional identity construction in neighbourhood policing

“They firefight. We do all the nitty gritty stuff”: Professional identity construction in neighbourhood policing
The aim of neighbourhood policing, also known as community policing, is to provide reassurance to members of the public. While part of the main police force, the tasks of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are different from those of Police Constables’. Nevertheless, during interactions with the public the boundaries between the two different roles are often blurred.
Drawing on data collected as a part of my ethnographic study, I will look at the ways in which the professional identity of PCSOs is constructed, especially through the use of pronouns. Prounouns have long been thought of as a means of creating professional identities (for example Mühlhäusler & Harré 1990). Rather than assuming a static view of the phenomenon, the talk will demonstrate how the use of pronouns contributes to “role performance” (Sarangi 2010) to create and enact a professional identities and display communicative expertise. Other possible factors that contribute to the identity construction will also be discussed.
References
Mühlhäusler, P., & Harré, R. (1990). Pronouns and people: The linguistic construction of social and personal identity. Oxford: Blackwell.
Sarangi, S. (2010). Reconfiguring self/identity/status/role: The case of professional role performance in healthcare encounters. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 7, 75-95