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POLICE WORK: THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF POLICING (2ND EDN). BY PETER K. MANNING (Prospect Heights Press, 1997. xii + 372 pp. $21.95 pb)
Peter Manning's Police Work has, for some 20 years, been a staple of sociology and criminology courses which aims to illuminate and understand the practices of policing. Richard Ericson and Kevin Haggerty's Policing the Risk Society takes an important new turn in this genre, about which there is much to say. These authors have helped to ensure that the sociology of policing is an arena for important ideas, rescuing it from the dull, utilitarian empiricism that many in `police studies' have settled for. At the same time, being ethnographers of modern policing, they eschew ungrounded flights of theoretical fancy and the displays of mere florid erudition that are the province of so many social theorists. The results, in the case of both books, are robust ideas, well grounded in empirical work.
To turn to Peter Manning's new edition of Police Work first. The core of the book consists often chapters which are only slightly reworked versions from the first edition. These are mainly to do with updating statistics, citations and some new contemporary examples but, on balance, Manning considers `the conceptual framework and the argument posited in the first edition [to be] currently viable' (p. x). This core is bracketed by new introductory and concluding chapters which are `intended as a framework by which past readers, new readers, undergraduates, graduates and faculty can locate and assess or reassess the book and its claims' (p. xi). Thus the basic premise of the second edition remains the same as the first; it is an attempt to characterize the social organisation of police work (understood as the work of `front line' public, police) using Goffman's dramaturgical metaphor. In the original work Manning attempted to go beyond the well-known limitations of this approach (specifically, those to do with lack of historical and structural specificity), by directly addressing these dimensions. Thus we have, in Chapter 3, a very concise overview of the historical processes--social-structural, legal and political-underway in British society that eventually paved the way for the emergence of the Modern Police. This chapter is exemplary for its attention to broad structural change as well as its clarity and brevity and, while there has been new work on the historical emergence of the modern police (notably from the governmentality …