Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Race, Ethnicity, and PolicingNew and Essential Readings$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stephen K. Rice and Michael D. White

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814776155

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814776155.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

A Sketch of the Policeman’s Working Personality

A Sketch of the Policeman’s Working Personality

(p.15) Chapter 1 A Sketch of the Policeman’s Working Personality
Race, Ethnicity, and Policing

Jerome H. Skolnick

NYU Press

This chapter suggests a thesis of Jerome Skolnick that has informed decades of research on the social psychology of policing as an occupation: that through a confluence of pressures that include exposure to danger, problems of authority, police solidarity, and the need for efficiency, police officers develop distinct ways of perceiving the world around them. As a result, this “working personality” tends to facilitate a suspicious comportment on the part of officers—an orientation in which officers develop perceptual shorthands to classify certain individuals as potentially violent based on inputs such as language, dress, gesture, or not “belonging” within a street scene. Conditioned by an officer's inherent need for order (e.g., via regularity, predictability, and safety), these “symbolic assailants” come to be cast as differentially likely for police interrogation.

Keywords:   Jerome Skolnick, social psychology, policing, authority, police solidarity, working personality, street scene, order, symbolic assailants, police interrogation

NYU Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.