Tag Archives: Gender

Why is the Police Culture a serious obstacle to reform?

Police Culture is defined as a set of beliefs and values shared within the police force along with the patterns that associate within the force, such as respect and comradeship. Organisational culture is the common type of culture which is defined by writers like Schein (1985: 6 cited in Newburn 2003: 197) and is understood that the beliefs, values and behaviour within the force are unconsciously taken for granted . Kier (1999:26 cited in Newburn 2003: 197) noted that organisational cultures have a vital influence on how police officers react to certain things and their relationships towards their colleagues on the aspects regards of gender, race and religion. Gender quality is one of the most influential features highlighted within the police and organisational cultures (Morgan 1992 cited in Newburn 2003: 197). Gregory and Lees (1999: 50 cited in Newburn 2003: 197) highlighted an example of gendered quality within the police force like male bonding within policing. They believed that male bonding is essential when it comes to dealing with dangerous situations. Nonetheless, Kier (1999: 27 cited in Newburn 2003: 197) also argued that male bonding involves one common value shared among them is the machismo value.

Reiner (2000: 87 cited in Newburn 2003) noted that cop culture, a set of patterns of understandings with the aims of aiding officers to adjust to the tensions when it comes to tackling issues which are confronting to the police. He also emphasises (2000: 90 cited in Newburn 2003: 199 -200) that isolation, risk – taking, authority and pragmatism are all the central building blocks of cop culture. Punch (1985: 187 cited in Newburn 2003: 198) criticised that the strain and anxiety among the police were embellished by olice officers and police research who become hypnotised by the police world and assigned to develop behaviour patterns rather than accepting the similarities of other occupations. For example, Winslow 1998 and Kier 1999 (Newburn 2003: 198) that cop culture concentrates and associates with junior police officers in the front – line policing rather than middle, senior managers and even superintendents.

The media play a partial influence on police culture where they are portrayed as crime fighters who carry out numerous tasks from driving fast in patrol cars to raiding homes of criminal who believed to possess illegal drugs (Newburn 2003: 200). It can be criticised that police officers portray differently from what they are seen from the TV show such as the Bill. In reality, police officers are viewed as crime fighters and more importantly in fact, as peace keepers who maintain social order and deal with case files and paper work which is suggested by Michael Banton (1964 cited in Newburn 2003: 201 – 2) who carried out the first study on British policing. However, Ericson and Haggerty (1997: 299 cited in Newburn 2003: 201) who observed the Canadian police officers, learnt that police officers make complaints about doing paper instead of pursuing crime like catching and apprehending criminals.

Newburn (2003: 202 – 3) stressed that new police recruits are hastened to assimilate to the norms and values within the police force and have to learn the tricks of the trade in order to be not only physically strong, but emotionally as well as policing is considered to be dangerous and distressing when dealing with homicide, fatal assaults to breaking up pub fights and affray. Fielding (1988: 54 cited in Newburn 2003: 203) sees that police training provides the new recruits the tools and practice in fostering occupational cultures within the police. In contrast, culture values are originated from expressing ideas among the police and the back chats made among colleagues and conversations made in corridors and staff changing rooms. Training also has the opportunity to hypodermic inject a dose of police reality with the intention to vaccinate the naive and deluded minds of new recruits so they learn that policing is not what they see on fictional TV shows. The most essential tradition for new recruits is the progression from self – sufficiency to becoming a productive member of the team where aims and values are shared (Fielding 1988: 189 cited in Newburn 2003:203).

It is believed that there were various explanations that advocate the debate among cultural and structural within policing especially the uses of discretion. From a political lens, Jerome Skolnick (1966: ch3 cited in Maguire, Morgan & Reiner 2007: 918) noted from his classic formulation that the police in liberal democracy are faced with a problem which involves them working under pressure in order to succeed within the form of law enforcement, but they were restricted from the methods they can use during the discretion process. He categorized three views of cop culture: suspiciousness, internal solidarity and conservatism.

Suspiciousness transpires from the pressure among the police to achieve results by catching and seizing criminals and the fear which comes with it. It can be criticised that suspiciousness makes the police liable to operate with prejudiced stereotypical portrayals of villains and deviants.  Internal solidarity bonds with social isolation. Solidarity is all about colleagues facing fear and life – threatening situations together. In contrast, social isolation is the creation of arranged aspects of work, such as the shift system and people’s caution towards interacting with authority figures. However, isolation could magnify the stereotypical portrayals of villains in terms of race, class; gender and class whereas, solidarity could be used as a tool to prevent professional misconduct. Conservatism from a moral and social angle is that police function is seen as the heart of representing and in defending authority and are in duty of the protecting and preserving law and order. In some cases, police are likely to have an option or opinions that are influenced by the narratives which is deemed influential. One example, they find themselves sympathetic and empathetic with deviants especially, women who are apprehended for theft or deviants with mental health disorders and criminals that come from broken environments. Political conservatism is a less common element of police culture. Robert Reiner (2000: 191 – 4 cited in Maguire, Morgan & Reiner 2007: 918) noted that police officers are liable to political right despite of having working class values.

Structural explanations about police culture highlight the importance of beliefs and values within the police force which are relevant in explaining their customs. These values and beliefs are converted into actions in distinct circumstances. For instance, Waddington (1996b cited in Maguire, Morgan & Reiner 2007: 920) argues that police officers who exhibit signs of racial discrimination are restricted from displaying racist views within the work place. Police work is structured by the authorisation and administration of police. The modern police are largely prepared for duty in the public sphere. In contrast, police practice is shaped by the legal and social institution of privacy outlined by characteristics of class, race and gender.

Evidence are argued to vindicate why police culture is considered a serious obstacle to be reformed. Many writers and researchers were challenged by debates that question if there is likelihood that police culture can be changed into a more positive form as it is deemed to be overwhelmingly negative due to sensitive matters within race and gender. One of the writers included in this debate is James .Q. Wilson (1968: 4 cited in Newburn 2003) who concluded after carrying out a study on American policing, that the uses of force was placed on behaviour patterns among police officers. .Janet Chan (1997: 92-3 cited in Newburn 2003: 219) argues that police cultures are susceptible to external pressure and anxiety. She (1996, 1997 cited in Newburn 2003: 219 – 20) noted from an encouraging study which arouse debates about the change of police culture, learnt that corruption within the police department in New South Wales, Australia was accepted. However, it had been changed as the police department were obliged to concede and implement an anti – corruption strategy; a version of New York’s zero tolerance strategy which would prevent these mistakes from happening again.

Gender is suggested to be an issue which sends a wave of concern among many writers, particularly those with feminist views particularly views on radical feminism form debates to vindicate whether there are serious matters relating to gender within the policing, such as bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination. It has been noted (Heidensohn cited in Newburn 2003: 557) that most of the police recruits were  male by seventy – five years since the Metropolitan police was established in 1829 by the Police Acts. Nevertheless, the transformation between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw the launch of policewomen’s movement by those who advocated the employment opportunities for women within the police force.

Dorothy Schulz (1995 cited in Newburn 2003: 560) noted that Alice Stebbins – Wells was appointed as the first female police officer in 1910 by the Los Angeles Police Department after the policewomen’s movement. Few renowned writers like Margaret Damer Dawson, Mary Allen and Nina Boyle who have been linked with first wave feminism pushed for voluntary policewomen to patrol the streets in Britain. Frances Heidensohn (cited in Newburn 2003: 561) noted that women’s position within the police was persisted to be limited until the end of the Second World War. They were assigned and trained to carry out tasks, from escorting female prisoners to dealing female victims of crime especially victims of rape. The acceptance and legislation of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 was considered a stepping stone to vital changes of women’s roles within policing. It can be suggested that feminist writers are from the middle and upper classes and considered to be well educated.

Even though it can be suggested that women who pursue careers within policing sent a wave of rebellion against society’s stereotypical roles of women, as arguably, women are prone to victimisation by patriarchal influences within policing. Martin (1980) carried out the first study of policing in Washington DC in attempt find out how women adapt to occupational culture, especially cultures that are male- dominated where women are viewed as sex objects. Female police officers are  argued to be seen as a “threat” to the male macho chauvinistic values held in policing especially if they were promoted to higher hierarchal positions. Radical feminists could argue that women are subjected to sexual bullying which comes in minor forms, such as sexual comments and name – calling to most serious forms like rape although it can be suggested that rape is rarely committed. Disturbingly, it can be imagined that female officers are suggested to feel they are bullied, blackmailed or bribed into giving sexual favours to male chief constables disturbed by the anxiety of losing their promotion or career altogether.

It is suggested that subcultures are formed among female police officers however, it has been noted by Marissa Silvestri (2000, 2003 cited in Newburn 2003: 568) who emphasised numerous critical outlooks of senior policewomen and discovered that they felt isolated within their hierarchal positions. Cases of sexual discrimination and harassment against women police officers were published in newspapers, such as the case of Dee Mazurkiewicz, who became the second policewoman turned detective constable to win a sexual harassment case against Thames Valley Police, claimed that her career was jeopardized by being nicknamed “Massive Cleavage” and was accussed of exposing her breasts during suspect interrogation (The independent 11th November 1997).

Arguably, one of the reasons why police culture is seen as negative is how police respond to crimes, such as domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse of children and crimes of sexual nature against women. It can be suggested that women are more sympathetic when dealing these sensitive issues than men as they can take a maternal and nurturing approach to dealing with victims’ emotions and seem to be matured . Jones (et al 1994 cited in Newburn 2003: 569) noted after researching four provincial on new responses towards crimes committed against women and children, such as the creation rape and sex assault examination suites and officers to specialise in child protection. However, the case of Victoria Climbe, an eight year old girl who was murdered at the hands of her mother and boyfriend triggered Lord Laming (2003: 296, 309 cited in Newburn 2003: 569) to observe and learnt the training that the police officers who were involved in this case was inadequate although the front – line officers were women.

Race is suggested to be the core issue which raised controversy and is concentrated more than gender historically. Research vindicate that ethnic minorities are subjected to discrimination as victims and employees within policing. Since the 1960s, it can be argued that ethnic minorities are represented in sports, business, politics, the civil service and medicine and none of them are represented in policing. Researches vindicate that police assess and categorise people of their ethnic origin. For example, it had been noted (Cain 1973, Graef 1989: 131 cited in Newburn 2003: 529) that studies reveal that Asians were classified as clever liars, deceptors fraudsters and potential illegal immigrants whereas in contrast Graef (1989, Reiner 1991 cited in Newburn 2003: 529) noted that black people are suggested to be trouble – makers, sexual deviants, highly aggressive, non – intelligent and participate mainly in violent crime and drug abuse.

Numerous researches illustrated that Black and Asian police officers were subjected to racial discrimination by their white counterparts. An overwhelming interview of ethnic minority police officers by Holdaway (1993 cited in Newburn 2003: 540) revealed that racist remarks and jokes were normally “a way of life” among police conservations which are carried out in canteens or changing rooms. It had been noted (Smith and Gray 1985; Holdaway 1983 cited in Maguire, Morgan & Reiner 2007: 436) from qualitative research conducted on police culture revealed racial derogatory words, such as ‘Paki’ ‘Nigger’ and ‘Coon were commonly used and accepted in police conversations. The Journal of Policing and Reducing Crime contained research which suggested that Black and Asian officers were slower than their white counterparts in obtaining promotion (1999: vi) It was also believed that ethnic minority graduates are more likely to have their applications withdrawn or rejected than their white counterparts. It can be argued that racism could have an immediate effect on career prospectus among Black, Asian and Ethnic minority officers. It had been noted (Hunte 1966 cited in Newburn 2003: 530) that oppressive policing could be originated to the 1960s where a report to the West Indian Standing Council illustrate the police participate in practices like ‘nigger – hunting’.

It can be argued that ethnic minorities and black people in particular, display pessimistic attitudes towards police officers. It had been noted (Gordon 1984 cited in Newburn 2003: 530) immigration was emphasised as a controversial debate which determined the experiences of policing among ethnic minorities where police officers were granted the powers by The Immigration Act of 1971 to apprehend and question those who were alleged to immigrate to the country illegally or overstaying their terms of entry and would be stopped and searched.

The brutal assault of Rodney King, an African – American by Police Officers in Los Angeles after being stopped for drunk – driving in March 1993 is argued to be proved as evidence that police abuse their powers of arrest and suggested that this and many cases of police brutality encourage or influence ethnic minorities to view the police as “racist”. Racially – motivated harassment among ethnic minority persisted until the British government and the police in 1981 accepted the problem and begin to record it (Home Office 1981 Bowling 1999). Bowling (1999 cited in Newburn 2003: 540) who carried out a study in East London, noted that ethnic minorities who experienced racist abuse were unhappy with the way the police respond to dealing these crimes and felt the police could have done better and felt the police did not take these crimes seriously. However, some compromised with how racist abuse was dealt with by the police and less than one – third of the people interviewed were satisfied. Stephen Lawrence, a black youth who was murdered in a racially – motivated and unprovoked attack triggered Sir William Macpherson to carry out a report of the police response to the murder, and discovered there was an indication of institutional racism. In his 10 year review report, it been noted that Doreen Lawrence, the mother of the Mr Lawrence felt that black families were treated differently from white families. She also believed that institution racism exist in some areas of the police force. Dwayne Brooks, a friend of Mr Lawrence recommends that racial allegations made by members of the public against officers should be considerably practiced with caution and taken more seriously. The report concluded that black people are persisted to be overrepresented in the National DNA Database and in the criminal justice system. They (Black people) are remained disproportionately represented in stop and search statistics. The report also recommended the police must concentrate on confronting issues of racist discrimination within the workforce.

On the whole, it is clear to be obvious that police culture is a serious obstacle to be reformed from the evidence mentioned in this essay. This essay emphasises that majority of police officers were white middle class males with machismo values. Police Officers are argued to have indirect unconscious disturbing views of racism and sexism in policing and the police force is argued to be a breeding ground for corruption which may in turn influence policing tackles seriousness of hate crimes experienced by Black Asians and Ethnic minorities, and members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender communities along with cases of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse. The media obviously, plays a manipulative influence on police culture which deludes our minds towards policing rather realities of behind the scenes. It is clear that institutional racism continues to exist in many forms along with gender discrimination in policing especially in dealing bullying in the workplace. However, writers should be criticized for ignoring the issues of sexuality and religion in policing which is blinded by race and gender. This essay could recommend that more training should be provided within the police force to become more sensitive in dealing with victims of male rape, hate crimes and domestic violence especially in ethnic minorities. It can be recommended that strategies should be implemented to tackle languages barriers within ethnic minority communities and  should continue to tackle indirect forms of discrimination in the private and public sphere of policing.

Banton, M, (1964) The Policeman in the Community Tavistock, London

Bland, N, Munday, G, Russell, J and Tuffin, R (1999) Career Progression of Ethnic Minority

Officers: Policing and Reducing Crime Police Research Series Paper 107 Home Officers

Bowling, B (1999). Violent Racism: Victimisation, Policing and Social Context, revised edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cain, M (1973) Society and the Policeman’s Role. London: Routledge.

Chan, J (1996) Changing Police Culture, British Journal of Criminology 36(1): 109 – 34

Chan, J (1997) Changing Police Culture: Policing in a Multicultural Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Erickson, R and Haggerty, K (1997) Policing the Risk Society. Oxford: Clarendon Press

Fielding, N (1988) Joining Forces: Police, Training, Socialization and Occupational Competence. London, Routledge.

Foster, J ‘Police Cultures’ cited in Newburn, T (2003) Handbook of Policing, 1st edition Wilian Publishing, Devon

Gordon, P (1984) White Law London: Pluto

Graef, R, (1989) Talking Blues: The Police in their Own Words

Heidensohn, F ‘Gender and Policing’ cited in Newburn, T (2003) Handbook of Policing, 1st edition Wilian Publishing, Devon

Holdaway, S. (1983) Inside the British Police, Oxford: Blackwell

Holdaway, S (1993) The Resignation of Black and Asian Officers from the Police Service. London: Home Office

Hunte, J (1966) Nigger Hunting in England? London: West Indian Standing Conference.
Jones, T., Newburn, T and Smith, D (1994) Democracy and Policing. London: PSI

Kier, E (1999) ‘Discrimination and military cohesion: an organisation perspective’, in M. Fansod Katzenstein and J. Reppy (eds) Beyond Zero Tolerance: Discrimination in Military Culture. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield 25 – 52.

Laming, H (2003) The Victoria Climbe Inquiry. Report of an Inquiry by Lord Laming (Cm 5730) London. HMSO

Maguire, M, Morgan, R & Maguire (2007) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology 4ed, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Martin, S.E (1980) Breaking and Entering Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Morgan. D. (1992) Discovering Men. London Routledge.

Newburn, T (2003) Handbook of Policing, 1st edtion Wilian Publishing, Devon

Newbun, T & Reiner, R Policing the Police cited in Magure, M, Morgan, R & Maguire

(2007) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology 4ed, Oxford University Press, Oxford ch27.

Punch, M (1985) Conduct Unbecoming: The Social Construction of Police Deviance and Control. London. Tavistock

Reiner, R (1991) Chief Constables. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reiner, R (2000) The Politics of the Police 3ed Oxford University Press Oxford.

Schein, E (1985) Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey – Bass.

Schulz, D.M. (1995) From Social Worker to Crime Fighter: Women in US Municipal Policing. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Silvestri, M (2000) ‘’Visions of the future’. PhD thesis, University of London

Silvestri, M (2003) Women in Charge: Policing, Gender and Leadership. Collompton: Willan

Skolnick, J. (1966), Justice Without Trial, New York: Wiley.

Smith, D.J and Gray, J. (1985) Police and People in London, London: Policy Studies Institue.

Waddington, P.A (1999b) ‘Police (Canteen) Subculture: An Appreciation’, British Journal of Criminology

Wilson, J.Q (1968) Varieties of Police Behaviour: The Management of Law and Order in Eight Communities, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

Winslow, D (1998) ‘Misplaced loyalties: the role of military culture in breakdown of discipline in peace operations’, Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 35(3): 345 – 67.

Internet site (s)


The Macpherson Report – Ten Years On (2009) HoC: Home Affairs Committee: London.



Filed under Academic Writings

What were the main features of the Beveridge Report?


The Beveridge Report was puiblished in December 1942 formerly known as the Social Insurance and Allied Services Report. It was named after Sir William Beveridge, a former lawyer prior his position as director of the London School of Economics (LSE). It was seen as the blueprint of the welfare state which supported by an argument involving the state finding a way to deal with the major social matters within the British society. The aim of this report was to combat the five giants, want, idle, disease, ignorance and squalor which were seen as the consequences of the war. It was rumoured (Lister 2004 cited in Alcock 2006: 209) that his plan was backed up by assumptionsthat oppressed married women were expected to live on a partial amount of their spouses’ earnings. The Beveridge Report also aims to stamp out poverty by providing all citizens a certain amount of support through allowances depending on their income levels (cited in Smith: 118). Beveridge referred his report circulating a code known as the social insurance, which consists a certain sum coming from the wages of workers contributed into a scheme that would help them through hardships which was eventually renamed as the National Insurance (Cited in Alcock 2006: 208 -9).

The Beveridge Report recommended the provision of free health care to meet the needs of people from all backgrounds by building health practices, building public hospitals and more doctors to treat the ill – stricken patients. He recommended funeral allowances that would help with costs for the funeral processes. He also recommended benefits to neutralize the high patterns of poverty among the long – term unemployed, people with disabilities, the elderly, and grants for married women, especially those with children, expectant mothers and those who are from low – income backgrounds. It was believed (Cited in Alcock 2006: 212) that he (Beveridge) recommended the preservation of social assistance along with the national insurance as he acknowledged that some people are less likely to be entitled to claim insurance benefits.

The welfare state commenced to battle the five evils. The Education Act 1944 was introduced to fight against ignorance by providing free education up to the age of 15. The Family Allowance 1945 was introduced to combat want by providing benefits to parents of children as an addition to their incomes along with the National Insurance Act 1946 to provision flat rate pensions and benefits for those who are unemployed and chronically ill through taxation of incomes. The National Health Service Act 1946 to provide free healthcare and the National Assistance Act 1948 to aid people with disabilities and mental health problems. The public housing provision tackled squalor by providing council accommodation and idleness was challenged by industries setting new businesses, creating job opportunities.

As a result of the launch of the Beveridge report, women and members from lower and working class are now entering employment thanks to the distribution of services within health, education and social care at present. Child benefit was seen asa  reaction from the compound of the family allowance and tax relief which was obtained by working families with children at present. However, the amount of allowance for single people diverse from those who are married and many people rely on national assistance and amount they receive are low and therefore, are below the poverty trap.

[1] Alcock, P. (2006) Understanding Poverty, 3ed, Palgrave Macmillan Press, Hampshire, Ch14, p208 – 13

Lister, R (1994). ‘She has other duties” – Women, Citizenship and Social Security’, in S. Baldwin and J. Falkingham (eds) , Social Security and Social Change: New Challenges to Beveridge Model, Harvester/Wheatsheaf.

Smith, H. (1996) Britain in the Second World War cited in Unit Materials/Section B Weeks 5 – 12 Poverty to Social Exclusion.

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic Writings

Do we live in a network society?

The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge  by Jean Francois Lyotard (1984) is considered to be the so-called “Self help book” that help us to understand the era of post-modernity. In his book, Jean Francois Lyotard discusses about the idea of knowledge and argues that knowledge is developed through the applications of science and technology. He is considered to be a narrative philosopher who explains things from his experiences and defines post-modernity as incredulity, disbelief about a fact moving towards meta-narratives, which is a story about story or “behind closed doors” explained from many perspectives. He believes that western societies are dominated by science and technology particularly cybernetics, where information is translated into pieces of data which is shared and easily accessible by us. In section 1 entitled: The Field: Knowledge in Computerised Society, he explain that people take advantage of technology to ameliorate their degree of knowledge by listening to information through media and communication, such as newspapers, televisions, radio etc. The purpose in which, he (Lyotard) could explain that technology creates a form of social cohesion via social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Lyotard compares the principle of money to the notion of knowledge as in exchanging degrees of knowledge among subcultures and social classes through agreements and negotiations (Lyotard 1984: 6).

However, in chapter 2: legitimization, Lyotard applies the metaphor “terror” to argue that human beings are easily manipulated by the media influences of consumerism and materialism, and are unconsciously blackmailed and coerced into obeying the rules held by authority. especially if the rules considered to be degrading to human mentality.  This applies to the rules within transport facilities, where people are obliged to pay transport fees otherwise, they would face the consequences of paying a fine or even face prosecution. In contrast, the hypodermic syringe model is used to explain that we are injected with messages by the media and those in the position of authority and would be  faced with the terror on the penalty of ridicule, disapproval, social expulsion and imaginatively, in the worse scenario, violent reprimands.

In section 3, Lyotard moves on to discuss the method, the language game, which he views the social system or social mobility as a game of chess which illustrates that people need to gain knowledge in order to survive the social system or progress from one social hierarchy to another. He argues that people are obliged to assimilate into learning the language and customs of its new culture with the expectation to adapt to their new environment such as the workplace and especially in academic fields, military and religious groups. This reflects the idiomatic phrase: “When in Rome, do what the Romans do”. In other words, Lyotard simply discusses about survival of the fittest where those survive and play the game well, receive rewards and mentions a single rule can change the whole game. However, some thinkers argue that we develop our own strategies to help us play the game successfully through creativity.

In sections 4 and 5, Lyotard highlights the debate between modernity and post-modernity in the nature of the social bond. In section 4, it reveals that Lyotard has a functionalist lens on modernity which was backed up by Talcott Parsons, another functionalist who argues that society is a self – regulated system. In clarity, people are drifting from a mechanical society where people share the same values, beliefs and norms to an organic society, where members are becoming independent (1967 cited in Lyotard 1984: 11). Lyotard also recommends that ethnography is essential to investigate and observe the behaviour and actions created by individuals in social settings to vindicate whether society is self – regulated. In section 5, Lyotard argues that our position in life and identities are shaped by race, social class and gender along with a certain degree of materialism, meaning our styles in fashion. In sections 6 pragmatics in the narrative form, Lyotard argues that science comes in two versions, first is a subject is determined by an individual’s experience, such as near death experiences or adverse effects and second, a science that consists of a topic provided with a hypothesis and research is conducted in order to vindicate its hypothesis. It can be suggested that knowledge contributes to form a social cycle and we are dominated by the knowledge held by members of the ruling class and authority.

In the section 7 pragmatics in scientific form, Lyotard argues that scientific knowledge is considered to be hegemonic and dominates other forms of knowledge, as science is based on evidence to prove that whether a certain assumption is true or false. He also highlights that scientists could criticise narratives for developing mentalities among human beings which consists of stereotypes, thus creates prejudice and discrimination (Lyotard 1984: 27). His quote: “A person does not have to know how to be what knowledge say he is” defines that our personalities or actions does not have to be dictated by the stereotypes of our social characteristics. This quote applies to the topic, aesthetics where an old fashion wisdom which addresses  low self-esteem: “It does not matter on what you are on the outside, but it’s what you are on the inside that counts” or “Beauty is only skin deep rather than outer perfection”.

In sections 8, The narrative of function and the legitimation of knowledge, Lyotard argues that legitimation is itself an issue rather than the language game of science where rules are constantly changing and people have difficulties of obeying the rules. For example, it can be argued this chapter reveals debates on how we should behave or develop a personality to adjust to the new rules. It can be suggested that those are in power can define what is normal or abnormal, in regards of values, personality traits and our ways of looking at social changes. Doland and Maschler (1969 cited in Lyotard 1984: 30) argued that legitimation is considered as a contract among the legislators and social progress is seen as the outcome of the rich and those are in the position of authority that created these so-called “social norms”.

In chapter 9, The narratives of the legitimation of knowledge, Lyotard argues that everyone has the right to have access to science and knowledge regardless of race, gender, religion, social class etc. It can be suggested that the last sentence gives some readers the impression that he (Lyotard) has liberal views and believes in equality. He argues that laws serve the interest of the rich and powerful and the legitimators such as the government and citizens are passive and have no choice but to follow the rules which are set by the state. This can supported by the hypodermic syringe model that us humans are injected by the rules that interests by the rich and powerful rather than our own rules and boundaries. In the section 10, Delegitimation, Lyotard argues that narrative knowledge has been rejected and the launch of technology was seen as the aftermath of the Second World War which motivated academic writers to concentrate on the motives rather than actions caused by individuals and the state. He also argues that issues in the private sphere were ignored, particularly within the home, such as child abuse and domestic violence and concerns of institutional levels of abuse on race, sexuality and gender.

In the section 11, Education and its legitimation through performativity, Lyotard argues that higher education is seen as the best ingredient to improve social progress and perfomativity of the social hierarchy as higher education provides individuals the tools to meet the criteria held in society and the ability to preserve social bonds. He also discusses that technology and media communications such as the internet, email facilities are replacing traditional teaching systems and data banks as they are considered as the “encyclopedia of tomorrow”. In other words, technology is the way forward. However, he argues that if education provides the reproduction of skills among social progress, then it follows into the transmission of knowledge. Marxist writers can argue that education can cause inequalities among social classes as those from upper class backgrounds can enter higher education whereas their low – class counterparts cannot.

In chapter 12, Postmodern science as the search for instabilities, Lyotard notes that theories emphasises the creation of new moves and new rules for the language game. For example, scientific knowledge is now looking for answers and the hypothesis is now dominated by actions and means of the individual’s place in society. He highlights Brillouin’s argument in which he concludes that there is conflict between the addressee and sender and people begin to rebel against society’s expectations (Lyotard 1984: 55).  Friedrich Nietzsche can explain this through the notion of resentiment (resentment) and argue that rebellion symbolises the outcome of  resentment fueled by mistreatment among the slaves by their masters and is perceived as a creative force.

Lyotard mentions that some social systems have boundaries including social norms that modify which behaviour is considered normal or deviant (Lyotard 1984: 59).  In the final chapter, Legitimation by Paralogy, Lyotard analyses two of Luhmann’s argument on systems theory: The first one illustrates that the system can only function by reducing complexity. For clarity, individuals will be able to function in society if certain barriers which prevent them from achieving the shared cultured goal such as the American Dream or their personal goals are removed. In clarity, discrimination towards race, social class, gender and sexism and poverty ought to be neutralized through charitable organizations and anti – discriminatory policies.

The second argument displays that the system should be adjusted to meet the aspirations of the players’ personal expectations rather than the aspirations that supported by the expectations held by the ruling class and those held in mainstream society (Luhmann 1969 cited in Lyotard 1984: 61). Lyotard also argues that performativity criterion has its own advantages where stories are rejected and replaced by definitions of real meaning and players of the game should take responsibility for the statements they propose and more importantly,  the rules of those statements (Lyotard 1984: 62). He also highlights what Luhmann describes terrorist behaviour in the social system and in the language game. He argues that anyone who has a high level of knowledge may be considered as a threat to the other players of the game and as a result, insecurities will rise among the players which converts into jealously as the motivate take certain measures to degrade or eliminate that player out of game mainly by bullying through overt or covert forms (Lyotard 1984: 63 – 4).

Some writers feel that Jean Francois Lyotard’s book is considered to be a stepping stone in shifting from modernity to postmodernity, or a “self-help” guide for the audience to understand postmodernism. However, he (Lyotard) has been subject to many controversial debates both negative and positive. Alex Callinicos criticised Lyotard’s definition of postmodern for lacking in clarification which causes conflict among many writers. He (Callinicos) also argues that Lyotard’s book the postmodern condition rejects the objectivity of socialist revolutions (Callinicos 1989: 3). He also illustrated that Lyotard’s discussion of metanarratives which is an individual form of knowledge in pre-modern societies, such as folk tales which Lyotard argues that they consist of experiences which are characterised by self – legitimation, meaning that narrators can make their own rules of the game (Callinicos 1989: 93).

Zygmunt Bauman however, argues that Lyotard describes postmodernism in the notion of hegemony which is argued that science tend to dominate all forms of knowledge and rules in the language game (Bauman 1992: 35). He (Bauman) also discussed that Lyotard also presented that hegemony is starting to erode in its power, is beginning to effect the disintegration of science (Bauman 1992: 35). He (Bauman) also mentions that language games are the outcomes of the separation of the communicative field from the structure of economics and politics and additionally, the breakdown of hierarchical functions within the social system. Language games are also burdened by other means not only legitimation, which of course is the main issue but the act of terror where rules are easily broken because people are rebelling against the traditional rules which conformed by the social norm by setting their own form of rules (Bauman 1992: 38).

Foucault on the other hand, from his book Discipline and Punish (Valier 2003: 152) highlighted that knowledge and power are related and cannot be separated as these two notions are viewed in which Lyotard could explain as the best form of teamwork to resist the two infections of “fear” and “terror”, and aid social progress and self change which can be applied to weight loss by arguing there is no diet without exercise and there is no exercise without diet, highlighting the antidote of self-discipline. Valier (2003: 152 – 3) on the other hand, argues that knowledge and power are exploited for other means such as punishment particularly corporal and capital which is supported by the journal entitled: Power without Knowledge: Foucault and Fordism.c1900 – 50, is an example on the exploitation of knowlegde and power for other means and uses Lyotards explanation of the metaphor “terror” is used on the assembly line of the Ford Motor Factory. It was revealed that since the early 1920s the Ford foreman had to adapt to the language learnt in that environment by displaying an aggressive and harsh attitude towards his workers in order to enhance the performance in the production line.

Williams, Haslam and Williams (1993 cited in Coopey and McKinlay 2010: 112) and Cruden (1926 cited in Coopey and McKinlay 2010: 112) argued that the workers were subjected to verbal abuse, incremented by the use of coercion, physical threats and intimidation. Foucault defines this term of auto labour as dressage where the workers were seen as slaves to the foremen, who uses gestures and fear to intimidate the workers with the intention to aid progression in the modes of production (Foucault 1997 cited in Coopey and McKinlay 2010: 112). This example of the brutal treatment of the assembly workers illustrates that power and knowledge are exploited for the company’s own purpose additionally, reveals the issue of hegemony, in terms of the foreman have full authority over the assembly workers.

Paul Terry illustrates that  Jurgen Habermas explores the notion of knowledge in three fields, analytical, hermeneutic and critical in opposition to the Kantian spheres of science, aesthetics and morality (Terry 1997: 270). He (Terry) also argue that these models Habermas highlighted relates to human interests in a unique way, for example, observation can be more effective through the applications of science and technology which lies beneath analytical knowledge and historical and cultural interests are concentrated on hermeneutically – derived knowledge. He also argues that those three concepts of knowledge can be applied in natural sciences or mathematics beneath the analytical – empirical sphere and hermeneutics can be related to humanities and critical knowledge can be applied in the interests of emancipation from authority (Habermas 1971 cited in Terry 1997: 271). He argues that Habermas sees the duplication of the social realm as a struggle between economics, administration and bureaucracy and sees that language game can be seen as a tool to achieve the means of attaining a balanced and reasonable agreement, seeing neutrality as the key to aid conflicts (Terry 1997: 273). He also mentions that Habermas views modernity as a democratic society and as an unfinished project. Nevertheless, he (Habermas) sees postmodernity being obsessed with power and legitimacy. Habermas’s work has been later criticised for being over – theoretical in the mention applications and believes practical is needed to vindicate these assumptions. (Terry 1997: 274).

Education was considered in many perspectives as a key to improve social reproduction and to maintain cultural perspectives. Offe (1984 cited in Terry 2010: 275) argues that higher education is inevitable in increasing our degree of knowledge and levels of empathizing power in political and economic views. Terry, on the other hand suggests that educators must adapt to inevitable changes in culture (Terry 2010: 275). Anthony Giddens who is renowned for this major theories systems of ideas – the structural theory which was initiated in 1984, which concentrates on social customs that revolves around space and time, and is essential for social systems and social acts performed by human beings and the late modernity theory which concentrate on the conditions of social world that constantly changes and argues from a postmodern view, that modernity is abolished by social and cultural order (Faulkheimer 2007: 288 – 9). It is suggested that  Lyotard’s method, the language game can be used to adapt to the new form of social and cultural orders. Faulkheimer (2007: 289) believes that scientific reason causes the risk society. It can be suggested that risk minimization in criminal justice systems stems from that assumption. He (Giddens) highlighted that risk diverse in two ways: external risk which associates with nature causes such as floods and earthquakes and the second risk associates with manufactured risks in terms of global warming, risks which associate with our everyday lives, such as transportation and communication technology (Giddens 2002 cited in Faulkheimer 2007: 289).

Barbara Ann Strassberg argues from her journal Religion and Science: The Embodiment of the Conversation: A Postmodern Sociological Perspective, that knowledge comes in two ways.  Faith, which does not need to be vindicated by scientific investigation through experimentation and belief needs to be backed up by scientific proof (2001:525). This statement can be criticised for ignoring that faith and science are connected and cannot be separated, which can reflect Foucault’s link of Power and Knowledge by arguing that “there is not faith without science and there is no science without faith “. Max Weber and those with Weberian views may explain that religion symbolises the notion of Karma where Lyotard explains this in the first chapter where we donate our levels of knowledge to those who are unfortunate or in exchange for new and revised versions of knowledge. Karma has been applied in moral teachings where for example, if we treat strangers or fellow neighbours good or bad, we will be given the same action in return.

However, the theme on religion can be exploited through the example mentioned in Power without Knowledge: Foucault and Fordism, can be used to explain that religious leaders could exploit religion for their own interests, manifested from carrying out fraud and deception to subjecting people to psychological manipulation and abuse which is practiced in religious cults and subcultures. Marxist thinkers can criticize that religion symbolizes dominance of the bourgeoisie over the proletarians. Imaginatively, religion is argued to be viewed as the symbol of  “perfect obedience” by creating a slave master morality by injecting the fear of God into our minds that he will punish us if we intent to engage in sinful acts which violates the biblical rules from the bible.

The quote: ” A person does not have to know on how to be what knowledge say he is” Lyotard mentions about personalities and behaviour among individuals does not have to be determined by what knowledge and stereotypes say about them is similar to the subject of psychology where, psychodynamic theorists like Sigmund Freud through his study of the unconscious mind could argue that past experiences preferably in childhood and adolescence can influence our behavior and responses to certain stimulus in later life. Whereas in opposition, humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers argue that human beings have the freedom of choice to take responsibility for their happiness, their reactions to external stimulus which are beyond their control and be accountable for the consequences created by their free will. One example is that we should not allow ourselves to be dictated by the knowledge based on negative stereotyping on race, gender, class and disabilities and past adverse experiences held by the ruling class and our chances of succeeding academically and financially should be not be determined by our position in the social hierarchy but determined by our own freedom of choice.

Additionally, on the subject of criminology, classical thinkers like Ceasre Beccaria and Jeremy Betham may argue that individuals engage in criminality by their exploitation of free will rather than external negative influences in which positivists criminologist like Andre Guerry and Adolphe Quetelet with the use of statistical data may argue along with Chicago Scholar Ernest Burgess on his illustration on the  Zones of Transition (1925) that crime is committed by those living in dilapidated inner city regions. Strain Theorist Robert Merton (1957) who revised Durkheim’s anomie to explain criminality stems from the frustration of not accomplishing the American Dream based on materialistic success. Labelling Theorists Rosenthal and Jacobson’s study of the Pygmalion effect in the classroom (1992) which vindicates the self – fulfilling prophecy which provide support to chapter 6 in the narrative form of pragmatics.

The graph from the home office downloaded from the  home office  website (http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/s95race02) illustrates the over-representation of black offenders . These were drawn upon the narratives of stereotypes which can be agreed with Lyotard who explains this in chapter 6. Black young men people are stereotyped as deviant, aggressive and  ‘trouble makers’ or academic “underachievers” by educational institutions. About the relationship of race and postmodernity, Brett St Louis applies the concept of  Foucault’s theme of power/knowledge onto the notions about race where he highlights that Stuart Hall suggests a new emergence of a new ethnicity where black people are oppressed by the knowledge and negative stereotypical perceptions held by the minds of the hegemonic white society (1992 cited in St Louis 2009: 656). He (St Louis) also argues ethnicity is manufactured socially where race was considered to be biological (2009: 659) which can be agreed with Alain Locke who argues that the biological meaning of race has been ended and the sociological meaning of race is starting to expand (1992 cited in St Louis 2009: 665) in areas of culture and socio economical backgrounds.

In conclusion, this essay revealed that postmodernism appears to be the heart of discourse and is criticized for neglecting concerns that focus on technology. However, from the works discussed by renowned writers vindicates with Jean Francois Lyotard’s hypothesis that we do live in a network society where information is decoded into data and delivered by various formats, such as communications, technology and the media.  We live in a world that is constantly changing and highlights the importance of the language game as it the vital tool that help us to adapt to changes made in society and it is applied in many areas of the social world from technology, science to race, class and gender.

Bauman, Z (1992) Intimations of Postmodernity, London, Routledge

Brillouin, L. (1949). Life, thermodynamics, and cybernetics. American Scientist, 37

Callinicos, A (1989) Against Postmodernism: A Marxist Critique, Cambridge, Polity Press.

Coopey, R and McKinlay, A (2010) Power without Knowledge: Foucault and Fordism, c.1900 – 50, Labor History, Vol 51, No1 107 – 125

Cruden, R (1926) ‘No Loitering – Get Out Production’, The Nation, 12 June 1926, 697

Doland, E and Maschler, C (1969) To Save the Phenomena: An Essay in the Idea of Physical Theory from Plato to Galileo, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Faulkheimer, J (2007) Anthony Giddens and public relations: A third way perspective, Public Relations Review, 33, 287 – 293

Foucault, M (1977) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Giddens, A (2002) Runaway world: How globalisation is reshaping our lives. London: Profile

Habermas, J (1971) Knowledge and Human Interests, trans. Jeremy J. Shapiro London: Heinemann

Hall, S (1992) ‘New Ethnicities’, in James Donald & Ali Rattansi (eds) ‘Race’, Culture and Difference, London, Sage pp252 – 9.

Luhmann, N (1969) Legitimation durch Verfahren, Neuwid/Berlin Lutcherhand trans

Lyotard, J.F (1984) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Manchester, Manchester University Press.

Merton, R.K (1957)  Social Theory and Social Structure, rev. ed. New York: Free Press.

Offe, C (1984) Contradictions of the Welfare State, London: Hutchinson.

Park, R.E and Burgess, E.W (1925)  “The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research Project”. University of Chicago Press. pp. 47–62

Parson, T (1967) The Social System, Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press.

Rosenthal, R and Jacobson, L (1992) Pygmalion in the classroom : teacher expectation and pupils’ intellectual development (Newly expanded ed.). Bancyfelin, Carmarthen, Wales: Crown House Pub

St Louis, B (2009) Post – race/post – politics? Activists – intellectualism and the reification of race’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 25: 4, 652 – 675

Strassber, B.A (2001) Religion and Science: The Embodiment of the Conversation: A Postmodern Sociological Perspective, Zygon, vol 36, no. 3 September 2001

Terry, P.R (1997) Habermas and Education: Knowledge, communication, discourse, Curriculum Studies, Vol. 5, No, 1997

Valier, C (2003) Theories of Crime and Punishment, Harlow, Pearson Longman, Ch8

http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/s95race02.pdf (accessed 17th January 2011).

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic Writings, Articles, Review