A Discursive Import of Suspects’ Affirmative Responses in Police-Suspect Interaction in Ibadan, Nigeria
Police-suspect interaction, henceforth PSI, has been examined from the linguistic and non-linguistic standpoints. Existing studies have interrogated the stylistic peculiarities of PSI without engaging the discursive import of suspects’ affirmative responses. Paucity of scholarly works on the discursive import of suspects’ affirmative responses has undermined the place of the suspect in PSI. It is against this background that this study interrogates the discursive import of suspects’ affirmative responses in PSI with a view to describing the contextual meanings of suspects’ affirmative responses during interrogation sessions. To engage how contextual dynamics ambiguate suspects’ affirmative responses to interrogation in PSI, the study adopts Grice’s (1975) cooperative principles as theoretical framework to interrogate the motivation behind suspects’ flouting of cooperative maxims in PSI. Recorded sessions of police interrogations on burglary and stealing, attempted rape, perversion of justice, kidnapping, conspiracy and felony and robbery at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Ibadan, constitute the data for the study. A discursive engagement of the recorded interrogation sessions reveals that suspects’ affirmative responses have multiple contextual meanings. This study contends that suspects’ affirmative responses do not express agreement in all contexts; suspects consciously flout conversational maxims to challenge investigating police officers’ (IPOs’) claims, seek continued attention, confirm their innocence, negate IPOs’ claims and initiate new discourse. The study submits that suspects’ deployment of the resourcefulness of their affirmative responses in contexts is geared towards seeking the path of exoneration. Suspects engage affirmative responses to enact discursive acts and power in PSI. The study recommends that further discursive enquiry should interrogate how resistance is created, managed and sustained by suspects in PSI.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.