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Spirande polisidentiteter: En studie av polisstudenters och nya polisers professionella identitet
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2009 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Who am I? Who are we? And how are the two entities connected? These are key issues of this study. Socialization and other sense making processes create new social identities. One possible identity is a professional one. Professional identities are discussed as a construction where expectations and experiences of construed images, cultural and professional understandings are key elements. Social identities are fundamentally described as social and individual reflections. The purpose of the study is to extend the comprehension of how professional identities are constructed and to study new professionals navigation through the complex network of images and contrasting pictures that meet them in that process. The professional identity of Swedish police officers is focused. The profession is - by many of the ten informants in this recurrent, in-depth interview study - described as a dream from childhood. The first of four interview-series has been conducted in beginning of police education, the last after nine months work experience. There are two motives that all informants mention for choosing the profession. The first is a wish to care for others and for the society, the second is excitement. Other mentioned motives are the police profession regarded as teamwork with a high community spirit. It is expected to give good opportunities to develop as individuals and is thought to be a practical occupation, described with key words such as handy and flexible. The construed image, how informants believe that others view the profession, is described either as polices as the selected model or as prejudiced and hostile. The mass media is regarded the main intermediary of the second image. By the informants, a good police is regarded as being without prejudices and is presented as male. Male strength is one desirable quality, though the strength preferably can be combined with female softness. The care-giving motive is accentuated as the most important one in the first interviews, but replaced by excitement as the most important one in practice. Some general discourses are discussed. The first three - the social, the recruitment, and the distrust discourse - are discussed as sources of understanding to the frequently discussed notion of the police profession as constituting strong team spirit. Police identity is also presented as unprejudiced, male and young in the sense of engagement and activity degree. All discourses are often challenged in work- experience, from cultural as well as from image perspectives. On a highly generalized level the police identity can be positioned as one with a high degree of community. When the stories are scrutinized clearly disparate patterns between individuals however appear. The differences are expressed either in accentuation or definition of the common labels. Earlier research on the fields of identity reveals some shortages. The individual's role in constructing social identities and the pure locus of identity is overlooked. To reduce that shortage, this study introduces a professional identity model where the individual´s position is connected to the common identity by expectations and experiences of three key identity elements -Culture, Image and the Profession itself.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2009. , 242 p.
Studier i företagsekonomi. Serie B, ISSN 0346-8291 ; 69
Keyword [en]
Professional, Identity, Police profession, Socialization, Sense making, Culture, Image, Expectation, Experience, Discourse
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-22615ISBN: 978-91-7264-810-4OAI: diva2:217380
Public defence
2009-06-12, NBVH 1031, Umeå Universitet, Norra beteendevetarhuset, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2009-05-15 Created: 2009-05-14 Last updated: 2009-05-15Bibliographically approved

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Lauritz, Lars Erik
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