Representations of the Police in Contemporary Russian Police TV-Series
30 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 11, 2014
Studies of representations of the police are important because they affect what people think about the police as an organization, what people expect from day-to-day interactions with police officers, and how police officers themselves work in the media-saturated context of contemporary Western societies. This study is based on an approach, which does not strictly separate studies of the police as an organization from studies of how the police are represented. In this paper, I formulate a methodological framework for analyzing representations of societal and state institutions in TV series, and I use this framework to then answer the question of how the police are represented in contemporary police TV series in Russia. This paper based on a single-case semiotic study of a popular Russian TV series called Glukhar’. I consider the show’s social and cultural contexts as well as its symbolic structures, such as visual and audial elements and its narrative. I develop a narrative model of the show, argue that the most prominent motif of the show is justification of the police’s illegal actions, and finally build a typology of these justifications. I propose a detailed analysis of two types of justifications and ultimately conclude that the TV show represents the police estranged from the state but not from society. Finally, I argue that my methodological framework can be applied to other TV series in studies, which address representations of societal and state institutions.
Keywords: representation, police, TV, series, legitimacy, Russia, crime, drama
JEL Classification: Z
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