Journal article

Policing and the social: Questions of symbolic power

I Loader

British Journal of Sociology | Published : 1997


Taking as its point of departure the tension that currently exists in Britain between official crime control discourse and popular sentiment towards policing, this paper has two aims. Drawing upon Bourdieu's (1991) concept of symbolic power I argue, first, that sociological enquiry needs to devote more attention to understanding the social meanings of policing, and outline a framework within which the role and significance of policing as a cultural category might be investigated. I then illustrate the symbolic power of the police by means of a discussion of the contemporary cultural salience of policing in the 1950s. My argument is that the continuing mobilization and appeal of policing in t..

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