Ethnicity and culture: thinking about 'police ethnicity'

Simon Holdaway, Megan O'Neill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Research about the development of ethnic identifications within contexts of employment has been neglected, not least by proponents of ‘new ethnicities’. Drawing on evidence from a two year study of Black Police Associations in the constabularies of England and Wales, this paper is concerned with the construction and sustaining of a particular notion of ethnicity, related to police employment. Black Police Association members have claimed a distinct experience of police employment related directly to their being ‘black’ and, therefore, an essentialism forming a boundary marking them off from white officers. ‘Police ethnicity’, however, is a strategic notion that is somewhat fragile and exclusive. The consequences of BPA definitions of being a black officer are explored. The paper ends with a consideration of the wider, intellectual consequences of researching ethnicity within employment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)483-502
    Number of pages20
    JournalThe British Journal of Sociology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


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