Division of Men in Uniform: Formal and Informal Bases

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 8:30 PM
Room: 414
Distributed Paper
N DODDASIDDAIAH , Department of Sociology, Karnataka State Open University, MYSORE, India
Police department is ideally assumed to represents a streamlined bureaucracy organized on the basis of rank, authority and responsibility, following strict principles of super ordination and subordination. Each rung in the hierarchy right from orderlies to the top brass is vertical differentiated while horizontally being homogenous in status, powers and privileges.  But such depiction of ideal hierarchy appears to be far from actually being in operation with different sections in police coming to be associated with differing tasks being in different trades.   The paper focuses on the tenability of other forms of differentiation based on considerations other than mere rank and responsibilities in view of strong preferences for different branches and trades within police force despite pay scales and other perks being the same across the police force for similar ranks.  An investigation into preferences and their determinants or bases among police in the State of Karnataka through a structured interview of 435 men and officers of police force reveals that, horizontal inequities operate on the lines of trades like, law and order, traffic, crime, investigation, special tasks and vigilance assignments in other Government departments.  Despite similar pay and privileges across similar ranks, there are differential preferences on the grounds of importance, public authority, immunity, autonomy, visibility and the like. These considerations appear to have given rise to an informal hierarchy of branches and trades within police, based on a sense of superiority and inferiority, which in turn appear to be the bases of satisfactions, deprivations and inequalities.