Police Organization; Professional Identity and Social Representations in Brazil CANCELLED

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: Booth 58
Maria Stela GROSSI PORTO , Sociology, Brasília University, Brasília, Brazil
In contemporary Brazilian society, police violence and his involvement in violent forms of conflict resolution are topics relevant to those who are interested in understanding the public security dilemmas. In this sense, this paper aims to analyze how are police forces organized, which relationships are there between this organization, the professional identity and police violence: how police organization and practices are represented by police officers and the effects of these representations for the way they understand their role as responsible to assure law and order. We believe that these representations have developments not only in maintaining law and order but also in ensuring all human rights. We still believe that such practices result from the symbolic universe through which police officers conceive themselves in terms of marks, belongs and identity records.

The paper is based on a survey that was structured using the Theory of Social Representations- TSR. The empirical goal was to obtain, and to compare, the social representations that military and civil Brazilian polices make about their organizations, practices, professional performance and relationships with society. We also compare social representations that police officers create about themselves and the ones they believe society creates about them.

The design of the survey was a sample structured by spatial divisions, hierarchies, roles and sex, comparing both polices:  the sample is compounded by 399 questionnaires for the civil  police and more 1,181 answered by military police officers, both male and female. Also, we have done interviews and focus groups.

The analysis focuses on motivations for the choice of the profession; the pride of the profession; representations of fear, stress, uncertainty and risk arising from police work; and how all these symbols affects police organization and daily performance.