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jp 5 ny

David Wästerfors


jp 5 ny

Summing up the criminal case online


  • David Wästerfors


  • Dirk vom Lehn
  • Will Gibson
  • Natalia Ruiz-Junco

Summary, in English

Online engagement with criminal cases is often interpreted in either punitive or crowdsourcing terms, but interactionist and ethnomethodological analyses can disclose other and more fundamental aspects. This chapter looks closely at a particular practice among posters on the Swedish platform Flashback: that of summing up the discussion ‘so far’. To sum up is a delicate and vulnerable act of rhetoric in this setting, often requested to create order but also criticized for resulting in errors, thereby seen as deflecting rather than reflecting what has been posted previously. By the help of Garfinkel and Sacks’ conceptualization of ‘formulations’ – a common way for conversationalists to comment on and demarcate their actions within an ongoing conversation – the chapter exemplifies the indexical, reflexive and accountable character of online summaries in the Flashback community. Even though summaries can be viewed as a cleansing and ordering device, they might as well expand rather than end the discussion. The author argues that interactions around summaries of crime cases illustrate the online sleuthing culture and how its internal social control as well as meaning production constitutes an online setting.


  • Sociology

Publishing year





People, Technology, and Social Organization : Interactionist Studies of Everyday Life

Document type

Book chapter




  • Law and Society




  • ISBN: 9781003277750