Book Review – Breaking and Entering: Policewomen on Patrol
Work and Occupations: An International Sociological Journal, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 248-253, May 1984
7 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2011
Date Written: May 1, 1984
A review of the first major sociological analysis of the phenomenon of policewomen on patrol, and one of the few (as of 1984) available case studies of the occupational lives of women who earn a wage in nontraditional blue-collar jobs. Like the women who are here portrayed “breaking and entering” into the police world, Susan Ehrlich Martin’s book, “Breaking and Entering: Policewomen on Patrol” is a pioneering effort, contributing to our understanding of the changing organization of police work. It is also a detailed depiction of the cultural and organizational contexts that pressure female officers, in the words of one of the respondents in the study, “to think like men, work like dogs, and act like ladies.” The contradictions between occupational and gender roles are especially sharp in policing. As tokens in an organization, they cope with the dilemmas of their status along a continuum of options between two polar patterns: defeminization or deprofessionalization. But the presence of women alone cannot alter the conditions that give rise to police arrangements in the first place. Having broken and entered, having added to the reform of the accouterments of police work, the core of the police role will remain, and the state will remain ever in need of its street-corner corps of men, and now of women, to whom a monopoly over the use of force is entrusted to ensure the coercive regulation of urban life.
Keywords: police role, policewomen, occupational and gender roles, defeminization, deprofessionalization
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