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Putting their Bodies on the Line: Police Culture and Gendered Physicality

Westmarland, Louise (2017). Putting their Bodies on the Line: Police Culture and Gendered Physicality. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice (Early Access).

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This paper looks at the way police officers talk about their bodies and reveals their beliefs about their colleagues’ abilities based on size, strength, and gender. It attempts to bring the study of ‘the body’ into the arena of police culture. Assumptions around front line policing being constantly fraught with danger, and requiring a strong, fit, and capable body are analysed by drawing upon data from an extensive period of ethnographic fieldwork. The officers’ highly sexualized and gendered notions of the body are discussed throughout the paper in terms of police culture. Their beliefs about force and strength—actual or imagined—and the ways in which the appearance of the body is important are analysed in terms of gendered policing. The way this is influenced by beliefs about bodies and occupational culture in policing more generally is examined in the light of certain tasks and activities.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 The Author
ISSN: 1752-4520
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not Set941342ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC)
Item ID: 49663
Depositing User: Louise Westmarland
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 15:57
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2017 15:58
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