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"Heroic Crime Fighters" A Phenomenological Analysis of Police Officers' Idealistic Role Construct

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Title: "Heroic Crime Fighters" A Phenomenological Analysis of Police Officers' Idealistic Role Construct
Author: Buffone, Sonya
Department: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Program: Sociology
Advisor: Parnaby, Patrick
Abstract: This research seeks to understand how public police officers phenomenologically construct and conceptualize their occupational role. Most research has overlooked officers’ intimate constructions of reality. The present study addresses this gap in the literature by presenting an inductive analysis of how police officers define their role, capturing officers’ intimate constructions of their life-world, while acknowledging the contradictions and tensions that characterize this role construct. My interview data indicates that officers define their role in terms of an ideal construct that is oftentimes at odds with their lived reality. Moreover, the data suggests that there is a discontinuity between officers’ definition of reality, the nature of their lived experienced, and the institutionalized definitions of reality espoused by the media, the public and the courts which, ultimately, fosters feelings of powerlessness among the officers. I conclude with discussion about the implications of holding onto this role construct and offer potential policy initiatives.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/2870
Date: 2011-07
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