Arntfield, Michael
“Money. Armed. Quietly”: An analysis of criminogenic prose in institutional holdup notes
Teil von
  • Semiotica, 2016-01-01, Vol.2016 (208), p.237-257
Ort / Verlag
BERLIN: De Gruyter
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This paper examines an Anglophonic corpus of institutional holdup notes (n=29) recovered by robbery detectives in a single Canadian city over a twenty-year period. Moreover, it examines how the recurrence of specific lexical structures in written content reflects a given offender’s awareness of his social position relative to both his victim and the institution where a robbery is committed. By disaggregating holdup notes into three distinct categories based on written content, it is argued that these categories reflect the willingness of perpetrators to adjust the content of these notes through a process of linguistic code switching that both enables and expedites the completion of the offence. It is additionally argued that the perceived formality of the institution targeted by perpetrators has an unconscious but direct bearing on the formality and structure of their writing.

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