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Meetings or Power Weeks? Boundary Work in a Transnational Police Project

Åkerström, Malin LU ; Wästerfors, David LU and Yakhlef, Sophia LU (2020) In Qualitative Sociology Review 16(3). p.70-84
Abstract
Meetings are common in contemporary working life, but they are often overlooked in academic studies and sometimes defined as empty or boring by employees. Yet, the meeting society is
being reproduced again and again. There seem to be hidden ways to incorporate meetings into today’s working life without arousing critique about pointless activities and deviations from what should really be done. One strategy was illustrated in a study of a transnational police project. Police culture celebrates visible crime fighting, which is associated with action, physical toughness, and capturing criminals. The police officers involved in the project emphasized the need to avoid “a lot of meetings,” but de facto constructed their project as meetings.... (More)
Meetings are common in contemporary working life, but they are often overlooked in academic studies and sometimes defined as empty or boring by employees. Yet, the meeting society is
being reproduced again and again. There seem to be hidden ways to incorporate meetings into today’s working life without arousing critique about pointless activities and deviations from what should really be done. One strategy was illustrated in a study of a transnational police project. Police culture celebrates visible crime fighting, which is associated with action, physical toughness, and capturing criminals. The police officers involved in the project emphasized the need to avoid “a lot of meetings,” but de facto constructed their project as meetings. Nonetheless, the project was declared a success. We analyze this paradox in terms of boundary work concerning meetings; the police officers turned some meetings into “real police work” by discursively and practically removing them from the category of bureaucracy and its associations with formalities, rigidity, and documentation. The most important example is how an “operational action group meeting” was renamed “power weeks,” eradicating the very word “meeting” from the term. This was closely associated with increased informality and multi-tasking during these gatherings. (Less)
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author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Qualitative Sociology Review
volume
16
issue
3
pages
70 - 84
publisher
Lodz University
external identifiers
  • scopus:85090627611
ISSN
1733-8077
DOI
10.18778/1733-8077.16.3.05
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
12e0d7c9-0fd6-4bf6-9f62-d76f8e4dba99
date added to LUP
2020-08-03 06:32:52
date last changed
2020-10-04 08:04:34
@article{12e0d7c9-0fd6-4bf6-9f62-d76f8e4dba99,
  abstract     = {Meetings are common in contemporary working life, but they are often overlooked in academic studies and sometimes defined as empty or boring by employees. Yet, the meeting society is<br/>being reproduced again and again. There seem to be hidden ways to incorporate meetings into today’s working life without arousing critique about pointless activities and deviations from what should really be done. One strategy was illustrated in a study of a transnational police project. Police culture celebrates visible crime fighting, which is associated with action, physical toughness, and capturing criminals. The police officers involved in the project emphasized the need to avoid “a lot of meetings,” but de facto constructed their project as meetings. Nonetheless, the project was declared a success. We analyze this paradox in terms of boundary work concerning meetings; the police officers turned some meetings into “real police work” by discursively and practically removing them from the category of bureaucracy and its associations with formalities, rigidity, and documentation. The most important example is how an “operational action group meeting” was renamed “power weeks,” eradicating the very word “meeting” from the term. This was closely associated with increased informality and multi-tasking during these gatherings.},
  author       = {Åkerström, Malin and Wästerfors, David and Yakhlef, Sophia},
  issn         = {1733-8077},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {70--84},
  publisher    = {Lodz University},
  series       = {Qualitative Sociology Review},
  title        = {Meetings or Power Weeks? Boundary Work in a Transnational Police Project},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.18778/1733-8077.16.3.05},
  doi          = {10.18778/1733-8077.16.3.05},
  volume       = {16},
  year         = {2020},
}