Police, politics, and culture in a deeply divided society

Badi Hasisi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This Article deals with minorities' perceptions of the police in "deeply divided societies." These societies are generally characterized by political disagreements, and the literature shows that most researchers emphasize the centrality of the political variable in order to understand police- minority interactions. This Article acknowledges the centrality of the political variable and adds a cultural variable that may improve the understanding of police-minority relations in a deeply divided society. In some societies, the disparity in the perceptions of majority and minority groups cannot be attributed solely to the political variable, but also to cultural differences. This is especially prominent in the case of native or immigrant minorities. Hence, it is reasonable to expect that this cultural pluralism will be reflected in minorities' interaction with and its perception of the police. Findings from a survey conducted in Israel indicate that political disagreements between Jews and Arabs have negatively affected the Arab minority's perceptions of the police. This Article also shows that the Arab minority group is not homogenous in regard to their relationship with the police; there are significant political and cultural differences among Arab sub-groups (Muslim, Christian, and Druze). The Druze hold similar political orientations to the Jewish majority, and consequently their perceptions of the police were found to be more positive than those of Muslim Arabs. Nevertheless, both Druze and Muslim Arabs expressed restricted receptivity to contact with the police when police practices threatened their community cultural codes. The findings from this research call for both a deeper analysis of the relationships between minority groups and the police, and for a more attentive probe of the distinctions among minority groups.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1119-1145
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Criminal Law and Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


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