Understanding Police Culture book cover

Understanding Police Culture

Police culture has been widely criticized as a source of resistance to change and reform, and is often misunderstood. This book seeks to capture the heart of police culture-including its tragedies and celebrations-and to understand its powerful themes of morality, solidarity, and common sense, by systematically integrating a broad literature on police culture into middle-range theory, and developing original perspectives about many aspects of police work.

Paperback, 360 Pages

Published: October 2004

Imprint: Anderson Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-58360-545-5


  • Part I: Understanding Police Culture


    1. Culture and Knowledge

    2. Issues in the Study of Police Culture

    3. Culture and Cultural Themes

    4. Articulating Police Culture and Its Environments: Patterns of Line-Officer Interactions

    Part II: Themes of Police Culture

    Section I: Coercive Territorial Control

    5. The Moral Transformation of Territory

    Theme: Dominion

    6. Force Is Righteous

    Theme: Force

    7. Crime Is War, Metaphor

    Theme: Militarization

    8. Stopping Power

    Theme: Guns

    Section II: Themes of the Unknown

    9. The Twilight World

    Theme: Suspicion

    10. Danger Through the Lens of Culture

    Theme: Danger and Its Anticipation

    11. Anything Can Happen on the Street

    Theme: Unpredictability and Situational Uncertainty

    12. No Animal Out There Is Going to Beat Me

    Theme: Turbulence and Edge Control

    13. Seductions of the Edge

    Theme: Seduction

    Section III: Cultural Themes of Solidarity

    14. Angels and Assholes: The Construction of Police Morality

    Theme: Police Morality

    15. Common Sense and the Ironic Deconstruction of the Obvious

    Theme: Common Sense

    16. No Place for Sissies

    Theme: Masculinity

    17. Mask of a Thousand Faces

    Theme: Solidarity

    18. America’s Great Guilty Crime Secret

    Theme: Racism

    Section IV: Loosely Coupling Cultural Themes

    19. On Becoming Invisible

    Theme: Outsiders

    20. Individualism and the Paradox of Personal Accountability

    Theme: Individualism

    21. The Truth Game

    Theme: Deception

    22. Cop Deterrence and the Soft Legal System

    Theme: Deterrence

    23. The Petty Injustice and Everlasting Grudges

    Theme: Bullshit

    Section V: Death and Police Culture

    24. Thinking About Ritual

    25. The Culture Eater

    Theme: Death

    26. Good-bye in a Sea of Blue

    Theme: Police Funerals


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