Category Archives: Fieldnotes

Today’s Correspondence

I’ve sent the following letter to my State-Level representatives (and aspiring candidates) today.  Fell free to copy, paste and edit as you see fit.

 

Dear [Insert representative],

 

Recently Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution (Resolution in Support of More Substantive Civilian Review of Policing Practices and Incidents) requesting our state representatives to move forward with a request to include citizen police oversight board members within the category of “law enforcement officials” for the purposes of allowing them access to the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN).  In my opinion, this was a measured and sound request both in terms of democratic participation and fiscal oversight (because citizens are not allowed access to the database currently, the AAPD has asked for and been granted a $170k/yr FTE so that a sworn officer can respond to oversight data requests.  We could save money, increase transparency, and arguably upgrade the available skill-set of that position if it could be filled by a civilian data analyst.

 

I was wondering what you are doing to move this issue forward?

 

In addition, in following the work of Ann Arbor’s Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (ICPOC) I have become aware of the Compulsory Arbitration Of Labor Disputes in Police and Fire Department Act 312 of 1969 and its effects on police reform in the state.  It is my understanding that this act gives police and fire unions a special status whereby an unresolved contract negotiation automatically enters binding arbitration after 30 days.  Whereas such arbiters typically resolve contract disputes by looking at prior examples, this is in essence a retrogressive law that makes it impossible to introduce even the most basic and popular reforms should they be found distasteful to the local police or fire union.  I would (1) urge you to make efforts in changing these onerous aspects of the existing law and (2) alert you to Senate Bill 0832 of 2020 and House Bill 5623 of 2020 which, shockingly, aim to extend these prerogatives to correction officers.  If there is anything I can do to help in these efforts, please let me know.

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Sing along at home

The view
Courtesy Zeynep Gursel

In order to spurn me on when I need writing inspiration, and as its own form of procrastination, I created a Spotify playlist of all the songs I remember listening to while while in France during my dissertation research.  Now I’ve learned that you can embed Spotify playlists into WordPress posts, so you’re all in luck and can play along at home:

Using George Zimmerman as an object lesson in the anthropology of policing

I have a new op-ed on the blog Savage Minds regarding the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman fiasco.  here’s a snippet:

Continue reading Using George Zimmerman as an object lesson in the anthropology of policing

Fieldnotes: Thinking through Subjectivity & Materiality through TASERS

This post is my first, personal, attempt at refiguring anthropological inquiry after the internet 2.0.  I guess this is just a fancy way of saying that I’m beginning to try to come to terms with doing ethnography after the birth of social media.  For context, my original fieldwork in France, way back between 2003-2005, coincided with Friendster, but that’s about it (it’s no coincidence that it was juring that time that I met my first “blogger”).  I’ve long though about what it would mean to start up a new project in the age of blogging, microblogging, social media and whathaveyou.  I’ve had various personal inspirations, and a few more or less inchoate collaborations (especially through the various iterations of the ARC Collaboratory, whose website seems to be down right now), but, at yet, no sustained engagement.  So here goes.

Continue reading Fieldnotes: Thinking through Subjectivity & Materiality through TASERS