Critical Incident Analysis and the Semiosphere: The Curious Case of the Spitting Butterfly

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Bob Hodge
Ingrid Matthews


In January 2007, media outlets across Australia reported the local court decision Police v Rose. Mr Rose pleaded guilty and the presiding magistrate recorded no conviction. This event sparked a ‘butterfly effect’ that culminated in legislative amendments changing the make-up of the body responsible for oversight of judges in New South Wales. Key players failed to observe the doctrine of the separation of powers; while others called for its observation.


None of this would have been foreseeable to Mr Rose or the two transit officers on the night he was detained. This paper uses complexity theory and digital media analysis to locate flashpoints around which critical incidents occur; and what the unexpected flow-on effects reveal about the host society.

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Articles (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biographies

Bob Hodge, University of Western Sydney

To come

Ingrid Matthews, University of Western Sydney

To come.