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Título:NARRATIVE ENGAGEMENT AND GUILT MITIGATION IN POLICE INTERVIEWS AT A POLICE STATION SPECIALIZED IN CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN Instituição:PONTIFÍCIA UNIVERSIDADE CATÓLICA DO RIO DE JANEIRO - PUC-RIO Autor(es):DEBORA MARQUES
In this thesis, we analyze the mitigation of guilt, discursively and interactionally co-constructed by police officers, suspects and victims in police interrogations that took place in a police station specializing in crimes against women. To this end, we adopt Narrative Analysis and contemporary Applied Linguistics constructionist perspective for qualitative research. In our analyses, we focus on the narrative, identity performances that emerge in the interactional work involved in attempting to mitigate guilt related to the crimes analyzed during interrogations. In this scenario, we show how narrative engagement plays an essential and constitutive role in this type of institutional, legal interaction. Analytically, we employ elements of Labov s narrative model – highlighting evaluations (particularly in reported speech) and complicating actions. This model shows itself to be a productive tool for understanding how stories are co-constructed by suspects and victims, and how they serve as a discursive, interactional means for attempting to mitigate agency and responsibility in order to seek to mitigate guilt. Suspects attempt to distance themselves, interactionally and discursively, from the confession of the crime being investigated in the police station, victimizing themselves by attributing responsibility for the aggressions to their wives/victims. Victims, on the other hand, seek to distance themselves from the responsibility attributed to them in the stories told by their partner/suspects. In this same perspective, our analyses show that the narrative engagement of the participants occurs as accounts (explanations), since suspects and victims use, interactionally, the stories they tell as a way of attempting to justify and account for their actions (in this thesis, these stories are called narrative accounts). Thus, we show that it is by telling stories and evaluating actions and characters in their own point of view that narrators – suspects and victims – construct confessions and testimonies, which are taken as facts in the legal environment. Moreover, we connect identity constructions, confessional work and the type of activity in progress, given that guilt and responsibility for crimes are co-constructed and negotiated in participants interactions. In view of the above, we emphasize that a better understanding of how agency and responsibility are mitigated discursively can contribute to the work of law enforcement officers, especially those who participate in investigative contexts.