A Test of Turk's Theory of Norm Resistance Using Observational Data on Police-Citizen Encounters

William Terrill, Northeastern University
Robert R. Weidner, University of Minnesota Duluth

ABSTRACT
Turk (1969) postulated that conflict between authority figures and their subjects is more likely when there is close agreement between cultural norms (the law as it is written) and social norms (the law as it is enforced). This paper uses data collected as part of an observational study of the police in Indianapolis, Indiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida, to test Turk's theory as it relates to overt conflict in police-citizen encounters. It builds upon the work of Lanza-Kaduce and Greenleaf (1994, 1995, 2000) who used police records to apply Turk's theory to police-citizen encounters in domestic disturbance cases.

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Updated 05/20/2006