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Title: The social construction of policing : discourse, gender and identity
Author: Dick, Penny
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2000
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The aim of this thesis was to examine how male and female police officers constitute policing as both a profession and an identity through discourses, and to provide a theoretical explanation both of the act of self-constitution and of how discourses are reproduced, maintained or changed during the construction of accounts of work experiences. A second aim was to explain why policewomen express contentment with a status quo that is often culturally constructed as oppressive. Using a form of discourse analysis based on Foucauldian principles, it is argued that the nature of policing as a profession and an identity is a contested and highly political domain, and these tensions are revealed in the ways individuals attempt to construct their identities within the web of discursive resources available. Dominant constructions of policing do prevail, but there is a hegemonic struggle at the individual and relational levels of discourse (Fairclough, 1992) that opens up spaces where the position of female officers, with regards to promotion and retention, may be facilitated over time. It is suggested that because female officers are targeted with a host of discrediting discourses concerning their motivation, ambitions and credibility, this motivates them to construct positive accounts of their experiences in order to enable them to take up subject positions in dominant discourses of liberal democracy: specifically, those that emphasise the autonomy and integrity of the self. It is therefore argued that selfconstitution at the level of identity reproduces hegemonic discourses at the ideational level (Fairclough, 1992) mediated by the relational operation of discourse within the interactional context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available