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This paper reviews the concept of police culture and its utility for analysing the impact of police reform. The persistence of police culture has been considered a serious obstacle to reform, but the concept itself has been poorly defined and is of little analytic value. Drawing on Bourdieu's concepts of ‘field’ and ‘habitus’ and adopting a framework developed by Sackmann, this paper suggests a new way of conceptualizing police culture, one which recognizes its interpretive and creative aspects, as well as the legal and political context of police work. Thus, police culture results from an interaction between the ‘field’ of policing and the various dimensions of police organizational knowledge. The utility of this framework is discussed in relation to a case study of reforming police/minorities relations in Australia.