Five years after I began the Master of Arts in Criminology Program at Saint Mary’s University, I’m finally (unofficially) finished. Overall, it took about three years to complete the thesis research, writing and defence portion of my degree. Although I had been working on it mostly part-time during that period, it feels good to announce that it’s completed. Thanks to everyone who helped me in many different ways along the road to this point. Mostly thanks to Sheena for putting up with my excuses over the past few years. Nevertheless, it will be all official when I graduate in May 2006.
What was my thesis about? Well, here’s an abstract:
Stress and Culture in Police Work: An Ethnographic Study of Canadian Police Officers
To date, investigations of police stress and coping have been primarily addressed in psychological research. Largely due to individualistic methodology, little consideration has been given to the effect of work culture on coping with stressful events and situations in police work. In this thesis, I examined the viability of a ‘cultural coping’ approach, one that recognized the role of the occupational group in addressing stress and difficulty. I also examined prominent stressors of patrol officers. This analysis relied on ethnographic research of patrol officers in a mid-sized Canadian police department. Twenty field observation sessions involved police patrol ridealongs, after-work social gatherings and events. Patrol officers also participated in twenty-three structured interviews and sixty-four informal conversations and discussions. In total, contact was made with one fourth of all patrol officers in the department. I argue police culture provides a positive and palliative resource for coping with stress in police work and continues to direct the social action of police officers. ‘Surveillance stress’ is identified as an emerging concern in police work. I also argue that an ethnographic perspective is ideal for studying stress and coping.
So, if you want to read my Master’s thesis in Adobe PDF format, david_macdonald_masters_thesis_oct_31_2005. Feel free to comment on it below.
For those interested: You’ll need the Adobe Reader to view the document. (And if you’re an undergraduate trying to cheat and use portions of it in a paper, beware of the plagiarism police. It’s all copyrighted material that will explode upon misuse!)