Looking different, acting different: Struggles for equality within the South African Police Service

Monique Marks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This descriptive paper tells the story of the daily difficulties that members of the Public Order Police (POP) unit in South Africa experienced in their attempts to create a more diverse (in terms of race and gender) and representative police organization. This story is told through recordings of observations and conversations that span a 4-year ethnographic journal. The paper demonstrates that despite affirmative action and equity legislation and programmes, Durban POP by the year 2001, six years after the transformation process within the unit began, was still plagued by deep racial and gender divisions. These divisions were reinforced by the structural make-up of the unit and the inability of middle management to challenge entrenched practices, as well as deep-seated assumptions, schemas and values associated with race, ethnicity and gender. By means of a ethnographic journal I was able to discover some of the daily dilemmas of the police in their change efforts and also the difficulties of getting police practice to meet new policy agendas.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)643-665
    JournalPublic Administration
    Volume86
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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