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Blurring the Distinction Between Empirical and Normative Legitimacy? A Methodological Commentary on 'Police Legitimacy and Citizen Cooperation in China'

Jonathan, J; Bradford, B; (2019) Blurring the Distinction Between Empirical and Normative Legitimacy? A Methodological Commentary on 'Police Legitimacy and Citizen Cooperation in China'. Asian Journal of Criminology , 14 pp. 265-289. 10.1007/s11417-019-09289-w. Green open access

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Abstract

In a fascinating study into the nature of police legitimacy in Southern China, Sun et al. (2018) present evidence that what researchers have previously been treated as possible sources of legitimacy—public perceptions of police conduct defined along the lines of procedural justice, distributive justice, effectiveness and lawfulness—are in fact constituent components of legitimacy. In this methodological commentary, we argue that the empirical strategy used to reach this conclusion is not fit for purpose because both conceptual stances—possible sources of legitimacy or constituent components of legitimacy—are consistent with the same fitted statistical model. Analysing nationally representative data from 30 countries across Europe and beyond, we also show that erroneous support for the approach to measurement is likely to be found wherever one looks. To be sensitive to cultural context means using a methodology that does not impose the preconditions of legitimacy, and we counsel against a trend starting in international criminology that does precisely the opposite.

Type: Article
Title: Blurring the Distinction Between Empirical and Normative Legitimacy? A Methodological Commentary on 'Police Legitimacy and Citizen Cooperation in China'
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11417-019-09289-w
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11417-019-09289-w
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Legitimacy, Police, Measurement, Procedural justice, Distributive justice
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10076005
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