Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism
Law, Justice and Journalism

David Pichonnaz

Visiting Scholar

Thesis title: Reforming police-public relations: new perceptions and understandings of youth crime?
Email: David.Pichonnaz.1@city.ac.uk

David's PhD thesis focuses on the attempts of change observable within the police forces in Switzerland, in particular via the training of new recruits which has undergone profound modifications during the last decade. He considers these processes of change from the perspective of police-public relations, in particular police perceptions and understandings of youth crime and young offenders.

His interest in police reforms focuses on the historical background of the reforms, their content, their promoters, and also the obstacles that weaken these attempts of change. His research about police perceptions and definitions of youth crime concentrates on the ways in which deviant behaviors are described and explained by the instructors during new recruits' training, on new recruits' perception of youth crime and young offenders and on how these perceptions evolve during their fist years of professional practice. In parallel, he analyses the official public communication of the police about youth crime, aiming to observe how it is influenced by collective interests and professional culture.

David Pichonnaz is a visiting researcher at CLJJ. He is doing his PhD at University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and at the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris, France). His stay at CLJJ is funded by the "Fellowship for prospective researcher" he received from the Swiss National Science Foundation. He did his M.A. at University of Fribourg (sociology, media studies and political science) and a Postgraduate diploma in Political Science at Institut d'études politiques (« Sciences-Po »), Paris (France).


  • "Une police 'inquiète' du taux de délinquance en Suisse. Le poids des intérêts et enjeux professionnels dans la construction policière d'un problème public" in Michaël Meyer (dir.) Médiatiser la police, policer les medias, Lausanne : Antipodes, (forthcoming).
  • "Délinquance juvénile: les usages journalistiques des discours sociologique et criminologique", Médiation et information, Revue internationale de communication, (forthcoming).
  • "Réformer les pratiques policières par la formation? Les obstacles aux transformations des relations entre les policiers et leurs publics", Déviance et société, 35:3 (2011).

Conference contributions

  • "Décrypter le discours d'une 'source officielle': comment les prises de positions publiques de la police sur la délinquance découlent des luttes, intérêts et enjeux propres à ce groupe professionnel", accepted at the conference "Communication et journalisme: nouvelles frontières, nouvelles interdépendances? ", Versailles, 19 th -20 th January, 2012.
  • "Reforming the police through training? The hard improvement of new recruits' relational skills", presented at the 10th Conference of the European Sociological Association, Geneva, 7th-10th September, 2011.
  • "Formation des policiers et réforme de la police: les luttes autour du 'vrai' et du 'bon' travail policier", presented at the Summer School of the Association of International French-speaking Sociologists (AISLF), Lausanne, 21st-25th June, 2010.
  • "Réformer le modèle professionnel et les pratiques des policiers : une question de hiérarchie des valeurs ?", presented at the Intermediate Conference of the Research Network "Knowledge, Work and Professions" of the French Sociological Association (AFS), Paris, 18th June, 2010.
  • "Changing police practices and conceptions of professionalism: a question of values hierarchy? ", accepted for the Intermediate Conference of the Research Network "Sociology of Professions" of the European Sociological Association (ESA), Paris. The conference has been cancelled due to a natural disaster (volcano in Iceland), 22nd-24th April, 2010.
  • "Prévenir la violence en l'infligeant: un dilemme policier? Les réponses apportées à l'école de police", presented at the Conference of the French Sociological Association (AFS), Research Network "Knowledge, Work and Professions", Paris, 14th-17th April, 2009.
  • "'Individu', 'truand' ou 'adversaire': comment les policiers catégorisent leurs clients", presented at the Intermediate Conference of the Research Network "Sociology of professional groups", International Sociological Association (ISA), Oslo, 12th-13th September, 2008.
  • "Culture policière et délinquance juvénile: comment s'articulent savoirs, représentations et intérêts professionnels? Le cas des policiers suisses en formation", presented at the Conference of the Association of International French-speaking Sociologists (AISLF), Research Network "Knowledge, Occupations, Professional Identities", Istanbul, 7th-11th July, 2008.