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A profession in process : The atypical rise of women to the high rank of Police “Commissaire” in France - G. Pruvost

Geneviève Pruvost
Centre de recherche sociologique sur le droit et les institutions pénales (CESDIP), immeuble Edison, 43, boulevard Vauban, 78280 Guyancourt, France

Available online 23 February 2009 on ScienceDirect

There are more women at the top of the hierarchy than in the lower ranks of the French Police, and it is easier for them to enter the “virile brigades” as officers than as rank and file. Besides, there are no great differences between male and female “commissaires” as to career opportunities. Those two original features can only be explained when seen in the light of the professional, political and anthropological logics governing this profession in process.

Keywords : French police force ; Upper echelons ; “Commissaire” ; Profession ; Career ; Feminization ; Gender

Article Outline

  • 1. Breaking through the glass ceiling
    • 1.1. An atypical distribution of female personnel
    • 1.2. The political crystallization of the Model of Excellence
    • 1.3. The police uphold the principle of multi-competence
    • 1.4. The anthropological foundations of resistance to feminization
  • 2. A man’s career
    • 2.1. Comparable advancement
    • 2.2. The political and professional uses of exceptionality
    • 2.3. Appropriate family structures
  • 3. Conclusion
  • References

Sociologie du Travail
Volume 51, Supplement 1, June 2009, Pages e34–e48
Translation : Gabrielle Varro