"Dry your eyes, princess": An analysis of gender and "other"-based discourses in police organisations

Year: 2006

Author: Ryan, Cheryl

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper examines the literature relevant to an analysis of gender, "Othering", and discourses in police organisations with a view to testing it through research. Much of the literature on policing can be divided into four key topic areas: the features and construction of police culture; women's integration into policing; organisational structures and styles of police leadership; and debates about the nature of police work. An examination of the literature has revealed a deficiency of research in discourses within policing and in particular, the impact of discourses on gender, "Othering", and police training. Assumptions underpinning the research project and supported by literature include: formal and informal structures and practices within organisations produce and reproduce gender relations; power, gender relations and masculinity are characteristics of police culture; discourses are products and resources of interactions which establish particular truths; and police organisations have been slow to respond to anti-discrimination legislation and to integrate women into police services. Critical to any analysis of culture, power, gender, discourses, difference, and subjectification is the dynamic and complex nature of culture. Applying Shearing's and Ericson's definition of culture as 'figurative logic' has resonance in police organisations where symbols, rhetoric and metaphors function as vehicles for discourses.