Dissertation Abstracts

National Republican Guard Officers: a sociological analysis

Author: Bessa, Fernando J. C, a15277@hotmail.com
Department: Sociology and Public Politics
University: Lisbon University Institute, Portugal
Supervisor: Helena Carreiras
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: Portuguese

Keywords: State , Police , Social Class , Professional Orientations
Areas of Research: Stratification , Youth , Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution


This research objectives are the production of new theoretical and substantive knowledge about the National Republican Guard (GNR) officers and students who attend school training at European Security Forces such as gendarmerie. It aims to make a sociographic characterization of these same officers, in order to find out their social background, the reasons to aplly for GNR, their professional orientation, their family connections to the military and police, their expectations and their representations about the institution and about their life beyond the walls of the barracks.
This research also include young people who attend courses to be officers in the GNR, in the French Gendarmerie, Dutch Marechaussee and Spanish Guardia Civil for the same variables. We discuss the police as a profession or occupation, the difficulties that present themselves to the study of the police and we use Charles Moskos' model to investigate the professional orientations as well as the existence of a distinct culture. The methodology adopted is quantitative in nature and uses the questionnaire designed to increase knowledge about GNR officers and the young future officers, of this security force and the other type of European gendarmerie forces being trained.
Regarding GNR officers, it was concluded they joined the permanent staff through four different modalities of access. Despite belonging to all social classes, the officers diverge in terms of the modalities to access. Most of the officers do not have relatives working in the Security and Armed Forces and the reasons that motivate them to apply for the GNR are institutional as well related with their professional orientation.
The GNR is considered an essential force to protect citizens with a specific identity that must be maintained. Officers are mostly pleased by the different functions they can perform as well as the autonomy they can experiment in their daily work. They unanimously agree with the participation of the GNR in international missions and have as main expectations to grow professionally. They are optimistic citizens, positive and their life is close to what they really want.
Regarding the students of the various Security Forces the majority of the admitted staff were men, however percentage of women can be taken into account. The family is assumed as an influencing factor in the decision of applying to the Security Forces and this influence is even more important when there is military family.
Although not considering the Security Forces as an attractive option, students disagree that the job is a routine and that the sons of officers are the most able to serve in the Security Forces. The students social origin is different according to the country they came from and what gave them more motivation to serve in the Security Forces was the possibility to play a role they feel naturally appointed for, their professional orientations are based on the institutional reasons and have as a goal to rise in the professional career. They enjoy learning new things, planning future and are happy with the family, friends and their work.