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Journal of Economic Sociology is indexed by Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) from Web of Science™ Core Collection

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Elena Berdysheva

Varying Worth of Crimes in the Eyes of Policemen in Russia

2016. Vol. 17. No. 4. P. 15–52 [issue contents]

The article demonstrates that crimes that come to the attention of the criminal police have varying worth in the eyes of Russian policemen and, consequently, attract unequal efforts. The worth of crimes is closely related to the criteria for evaluation of police performance. The data derived from 12 in-depth interviews with Russian police officers, nine indepth interviews with senior students of Moscow University of Russian Interior Ministry who are undergoing practice within police departments, and online discussions within the police community show that policemen in Russia made their practical decisions while balancing between multiple orders of worth.
The theoretical framework of data interpretation is represented by symbiosis theories of valuations and the institutional logics approach. Operationalized as a set of cultural rules and expectations defining legitimate grounds for assessing and determining what rational behavior in a given organizational context really is, the concept of institutional logics stresses the interrelations between value-oriented and material dimensions of social action but allows one to stress the hierarchy and constant competition between various orders of worth in an organization. Four institutional logics — state, clan, quasi-market, and professional — are empirically identified. Each of them brings its own order of worth to the police organizational environment.
Crimes in the eyes of the police always have a price — expressed in either “checkmarks,” points of recognition by the boss or colleagues, or money. The data suggest that, despite the hierarchy between the orders of (crimes’) worth within the police system as a whole, in each case, institutional logics and criteria of worth related to them compete with each other. Depending on the characteristics of the criminal case and the situation in the police department at a given moment, the competition between various orders of worth is resolved by policemen in different ways. The results of the study shed light on the functioning of police discretion and help to accentuate the dysfunctional side of police reform in Russia.

Citation: Berdysheva E. (2016) Differentsiatsiya «privlekatel'nosti» pravonarusheniyv vospriyatii rossiyskikh politseyskikh [Varying Worth of Crimes in the Eyes of Policemen in Russia]. Economic Sociology, vol. 17, no 4, pp. 15-52 (in Russian)
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