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Erik Hannerz

Erik Hannerz

Associate senior lecturer

Erik Hannerz

The bumpy paths of online sleuthing: Exploring the interactional accomplishment of familiarity, evidence, and authority in online crime discussions


  • David Wästerfors
  • Veronika Burcar Alm
  • Erik Hannerz

Summary, in Swedish

Much of today’s public discourse on crime cases take place on online platforms, as long chains of high-speed posts: speculations, analyses, and laments, as well as ironic, sarcastic, and derogatory comments. These give excellent (and yet risky) possibilities to engage in homemade investigation, with other posters as instant reviewers and audiences. In this article, we explore the interactional origin of case-related familiarity, evidence and authority in crime discussions on the Swedish platform Flashback. Through Internet data and interviews, we show how online sleuths interact digitally with one another so that familiarity with the case is performed, leads and evidence suggested, and investigative authority recognized. We argue that an interactionist and ethnographic approach is needed to uncover such recurring processes in online crime case discussions. The accomplishment of sleuthing is highly dependent on others’ shifting responses, and is, therefore, a “bumpy” path.


  • Sociology
  • Department of Sociology

Publishing year





New Media & Society

Document type

Journal article


SAGE Publications


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • crime case discussions
  • digital ethnography
  • interaction
  • online sleuthing




  • ISSN: 1461-4448