Race and Police Brutality : Roots of an Urban Dilemma

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-11-06
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr
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What causes police brutality, and why are minority citizens the primary victims? Social scientists often attribute the behavior to poorly managed police departments, bad cops, or the interests of the powerful in controlling minorities perceived as criminal threats. Malcolm D. Holmes and Brad W. Smith contend that these explanations fail to identify key causes of police misconduct, particularly the use of excessive force. Focusing on the interaction of ordinary social-psychological processes and the disadvantaged conditions of minority neighborhoods, Holmes and Smith develop an integrated model of police brutality that takes into account contemporary theory and research on social identity, stereotypes, and emotions-factors that produce intergroup tensions and may trigger unwarranted acts of aggression. Their approach overcomes existing theoretical difficulties and raises the question of how this complex social problem might be effectively addressed. Book jacket.

Author Biography

Malcolm D. Holmes is Professor of Sociology at the University of Wyoming Brad W. Smith is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Wayne State University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
The Nature of Police Brutalityp. 1
What Is Police Brutality?p. 6
How Can Police Brutality Be Explained?p. 7
Outline of an Alternative Theoryp. 12
Social Threat and Police Violencep. 17
Police Organization and Police Violence in American Historyp. 21
Group-Conflict Theoryp. 25
Police-Minority Conflictp. 28
Police-Minority Conflicts and Police Violencep. 34
Social Identity and Ingroup Biasp. 37
Cognitive Perspectives on Intergroup Relationsp. 38
The Social Identity Modelp. 40
Social Identity and Policingp. 44
Racial and Ethnic Identityp. 49
Social Identity and Police-Minority Relationsp. 52
Stereotyping and Outgroup Biasp. 57
The Information Processing Modelp. 58
Cultural Stereotypes of Race and Crimep. 68
Stereotyping and the Working Personality of the Police Officerp. 70
Minority Stereotypes of Policep. 74
Stereotypes and Police-Minority Relationsp. 76
The Emotional Roots of Intergroup Relationsp. 79
The Nature of Human Emotionsp. 82
The Emotions of the Policep. 89
The Emotions of Minority Citizensp. 92
Emotion and Cognition in Police-Minority Relationsp. 94
Translating Intergroup Biases into Intergroup Aggressionp. 97
The Dimensions of Intergroup Relationsp. 98
The Emotional and Cognitive Foundation of Aggressionp. 103
The Inseparability of Emotional and Cognitive Responsesp. 108
A Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Theory of Excessive Forcep. 111
Background Variables and Psychological Preconditionsp. 114
Threatening Situations and Mental Responsesp. 119
Mediators of Police Brutalityp. 122
Is Police Brutality Inevitable?p. 125
Can Popular Policies Reduce Police Brutality?p. 127
Changing Police Organizations to Change Police Behaviorp. 128
Prospects for Organizational Reformsp. 138
Roots of an Urban Dilemmap. 143
Notesp. 153
Referencesp. 157
Indexp. 181
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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