Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, viii, 225 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Justin T Pickett

Committee Members

Steven F Messner, Greg Pogarsky, William A Pridemore, Robert E Worden


Policing, Public Attitudes, Smartphones, Sousveillance, Surveillance, Technology, Law enforcement, Police patrol, Police brutality, Police-community relations, Video recordings, Video surveillance, Cell phones

Subject Categories

Criminology | Public Policy | Sociology


In the United States, police officers are empowered to use force, and are often people’s first point of contact with the criminal justice system. Significantly, in the last decade, the majority of American citizens have acquired smartphone technology, which allows them to document and broadcast police behavior on a scale never before seen. Several high-profile police use of force incidents have been captured on video, and the resulting public outcries suggest that this technology now presents exceptional challenges to the maintenance of police legitimacy. Foucault (1977) argues that power in modern society is achieved by surveillance systems that work to normalize behavior by discouraging nonconformity, and individualizing and documenting those who do deviate from accepted standards. Thus, citizens’ smartphone monitoring of the police may be essentially corrective, and beneficial for police legitimacy. This Foucaultian model suggests important attitudinal preconditions, which are assessed here.