Philosophical anthropology and the premises of research about the police

Simon Holdaway, Sarah Charman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter will discuss the premises upon which different research methods and modes of analysis popular in contemporary criminology are based. Particular attention is given to the premises on which participatory methods of research, including ethnography, are based. As a means of contrast, Evidence Based Policing (EBP), and in particular the model of EBP adopted by the Cambridge Centre for Evidence-Based Policing, is considered. Comparisons between EBP and ethnographic studies of policing are explored, theoretically and in relation to policy and practice change within police constabularies in England and Wales. It is argued that there is insufficient attention paid to philosophical anthropology in this approach to police research and that a refocus on the observation of human action, which is creative, attributes meaning to phenomena and is conceptualised best as negotiated in interaction with others, is central within policing research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of Police Ethnography
EditorsJenny Fleming, Sarah Charman
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781000812916, 9781003083795
ISBN (Print)9780367539399
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks

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