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Practical matters How to find us dr. L.D. (Laura) Keesman

dr. L.D. (Laura) Keesman

Assistant Professor


Violence, Policing, Embodiment, Micro-Sociology, Interactions, Phenomenology.

I work on topics of violence and violent interactions, policing and police work, violence against officers and use of force, in situ experiences, embodiment, professionalism and processes of (de)escalation. I use theoretical insights from micro-sociology, the micro-sociology of violence in particular, phenomenology, culture studies, and interactional sociology. Methodologically, I use qualitative methods such as ethnographic fieldwork and interviewing and incorporate videos, in particular video elicitation.

Previously, I worked as a social worker at the homeless facilities of the Salvation Army in the Red Light district of Amsterdam and domestic violence shelter in Sioux Falls, South Dakota U.S.. Here I conducted research into experiences of violence by social workers which got published in Journal of Social Work, entitled: 'Bodies and emotions in tense and threatening situations'.

Between 2017 and 2022 I conducted research into violent interactions in policing for which I conducted an ethnography of the Dutch police.

Published papers based on this research include an analysis of the use of video elicitation during interview in Poetics, the experience of 'freezing' by officers in Policing & Society, the significance of 'situational turning points' in violent police-civilian encounters in Historical Social Research, and officers' use of neurobiological narratives in Body & Society. My dissertation is about the sense of 'being in control' and how this permeates the police and policing practices. To study this, I developed a phenomenological-interactionist perspective.

In spring of 2022 I was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Criminological Research, University of Alberta, Canada. Currently, I am in the process of expanding my research into violence and policing towards understanding societal dissatisfaction and riots, again from a micro-sociological, and phenomenological and embodied perspective.

I teach in the Sociology department and am passionate about science communication. For this reason, I participated in a theatre show the 'Hoe?Zo! Show' aimed to make children enthusiastic about science. More information on this can be found here:
Last modified:25 January 2023 2.39 p.m.

Contact information

Grote Rozenstraat 31
9712 TG Groningen
The Netherlands