Date of Thesis

Spring 2018

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Economics

Second Major

Geography

First Advisor

Vanessa Massaro

Second Advisor

Alicia Lazzarini

Keywords

community policing, socialization of police officers, militarization, violent masculinity, Philadelphia

Abstract

There is a history of tension between the police and the Black community, and this relationship has become increasingly strained in recent years due to the militarization of policing. Scholars have argued that the militarization of policing has blurred the distinction between police officers and soldiers. When police officers are equipped with military gear and told that they are fighting a war, a war on drugs or a war on crime, it transforms their perception of who they are in relation to the community and makes them believe that they are soldiers fighting a war, rather than officers preventing crime and protecting citizens. In this paper, I will use a post-structural feminist lens to assess how militarization has socialized police officers to behave more aggressively with citizens, and how a different model of policing may be able to reconstruct the identity of police officers in a way that improves relationships with the community. In addition, with the idea that the role of police officers has evolved and that they are increasingly acting like soldiers, a construction of the prototypical enemy has also emerged, and this is a highly racialized construct. In my analysis, I use Philadelphia as a case study to evaluate the effects of a community policing model on relationships between the police and the community. Ultimately, I evaluate whether community policing can counteract the militarized constructions that are rooted in violent masculinities, and restructure the socialization of police officers in a way that improves relations with the community, while also effectively preventing crime.

Share

COinS