Gender & policing, Gender & Policing, Police Culture, Criminology, Criminal Justice, Scottish Criminal Justice System, Police, Police Scotland, Ethnography, Feminist Research, Sociology of Gender, Intersectionality, Gender and Development, Feminist Criminology
My research is an ESRC (1+3) funded project exploring how women in Scottish policing negotiate their gender identity in the context of cultural reform. My cross-disciplinary PhD research, co-supervised between Sociology in SSPS and Criminology in the School of Law, stems from a deep engagement with Police Scotland during my undergraduate project in Sociology.
Traditionally ‘cop culture’ has been understood as permeated with hegemonic masculinity and patriarchal structures. Despite evolving to become less discriminatory and exclusionary of women in policing, the under-representation of female officers both in Scotland and internationally raises questions of their experiences today
The 2013 formation of a single service, Police Scotland, promised profound reform to its internal culture allowing statements of change and equality from its new leaders. The intersection of an apparently unique momentum for change in Scottish policing, in the face of a deep-rooted, unchanging occupational culture, seeks to shed light on the enduring overtly masculine construction of policing and criminal justice work.
Ethnographic observations will supplement interviews and virtual focus groups. By focusing on women’s own narratives and exploring both positive and negative experiences, I intend to oppose the victim status often assigned to women in policing.
My research aspires to contribute to pressing policy debates about the developing climate of Police Scotland as well as realigning academic attention on the inequalities and divisions that exist within policing. It also proposes an exciting opportunity to develop virtual qualitative methodologies in the form of virtual focus groups and forward occupational equality along the lines of gender.