Symbolic Transaction Theory Explaining Police Use of Non-Lethal Force: A New Look From an Old Perspective

William Pizio, University at Albany

A variety of theories have been put forth in the search to explain why police use of non-lethal force occurs. The research indicates that while the variation explained using these theories remains relatively small, situational theory provides the most promising empirical support. This paper seeks to expand the theoretical foundation in the use of force literature by blending situational theory with elements of symbolic interaction, a sociological theory rarely included in criminal justice research today. This is an exploratory paper with a future goal of increasing the explained variation in use of force research.

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Updated 05/20/2006