Tag Archives: police

New article in American Anthropologist

The AAA Meetings were a wonderful flurry of activity that I’m just now recovering from, however one thing slipped under my radar while it was happening: my new article, co-authored with Paul Mutsaers and Jennie Simpson, on “The Anthropology of Police as Public Anthropology” is now available for early viewing*.  The hard-copy version of the article is set to appear in the December issue of the journal American Anthropologist.  This should be the first in a flurry of exciting things coming in the next semester or so, so keep an eye out!

 

*I’d prefer you download the article via Wiley’s site, if you have access through your home institution or Anthrosource.  If not, however, you an find a copy I’ve uploaded onto Academia.edu

New Virtual Issue of PoLAR featuring “Of Heroes and Polemics” as well as a new ‘Postscript’

I’m happy to say that my 2010 article “Of Heroes and Polemics: the ‘policeman’ in urban ethnography” has been selected for inclusion in the latest Virtual issue of the Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR) on “The Promise and Pathos of Law“.

All the articles in this issue will be available as Open Access, which means you will not need a University library subscription to access them.  In addition, I’ve written a short new  ‘postscript’ to the piece reflecting on changes since the article’s original publication.

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Fieldworks trinkets, cause for reflection

What’s going on in the Ukraine?

Anthropoliteia

One thing I’m a bit embarrassed by is how paltry our coverage of the events in Ukraine have been over the past few weeks.  I’m sure I’m not alone in watching from afar and being fascinated with what is happening, but I have no special expertise in the region.  Does anyone from our readership?

One thing that’s fascinated me in particular is how quickly the state of policing shifted, and what this potentially means for how we think about such things as “police,” “state,” “violence,” and “democracy.”  You know, all those classic elements of Police Studies that draw on Weber.

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Anthropoliteia in Anthropology news

“Fault Lines in an Anthropology of Police, Both Public and Global” in Anthropology News

Another commentary by yours truly at Anthropology News.  AN format forbids in-text citations and footnotes, but if you’ll follow the links you’ll find a dense web of Anthropoliteia contributors’ work!

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

New Syllabus: Ethnographies of Police

ImageI’ve just uploaded a copy of the syllabus for a new class I’ll be teaching the second half of this semester, “Ethnographies of Police”.  I’m pretty psyched about it.  You can find a pdf version here, or go to the “Teaching” page of my blog and see it amongst the other syllabi uploaded there.

Image of the day

A fan poses as police officers control the entrance of Green Point Stadium in Cape Town

Police officer screens a fan at the entrance of the Green Point stadium in Cape Town

A fan poses as police officers control the entrance of Green Point Stadium in Cape Town June 11, 2010, ahead of the 2010 World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and France. REUTERS/Oleg Popov (SOUTH AFRICA – Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

French municipal police demonstrate during a protest march in Marseille

A fan poses as police officers control the entrance of Green Point Stadium in Cape Town

via A fan poses as police officers control the entrance of Green Point Stadium in Cape Town (Picture-9087530).

1 in 10 French police are “issued from immigration,” and this is news because…?

According to the Institut national des études démographiques (Ined), and as reported in Le Figaro, almost 10% of French police are “issued from immigration” (I’ll have to look closer at the original research to see what this means, because in my experience it can mean anything from 1.5 generation to 4th generation) but almost 2/3 of that is from other European countries–Spain, Portugal, Italy– not former French territories and colonies. Still, this is big news because:

1) not many people thought the numbers would be even that high; and

2) these kind state-run surveys of race/ethnicity are extremely rare in France, some even considering them illegal–this particular survey is a direct result of an initiative of Nicolas Sarkozy when he was head of the police as Minister of the Interior

New Course: Writing Police Power

On Monday I’ll start teaching my last course here at Berkeley.  It’s a reading and composition course–so its main goal is to teach first and second-year undergraduates the skills necessary for reading, writing and doing research at the college level–but within that overall goal individual instructors get a huge amount of leeway in picking the course theme.

My course will be “Writing Police Power” and I’m pretty excited by it.  You can see a copy of the syllabus here.  the basic premise of the course is that writing about police, across a variety of genres (including urban ethnography), is a way of writing about power.  This is also the thesis of an article I’ve written, currently under review by PoLAR, but the main point for the students here is to get how different representational strategies couch within theme theories of power–a skill they’ll need if they’re going to be critical readers of ethnographic texts for upper division courses.

Since this is a super-condensed summer course I decided to cut out more of the examples from critical theory (Althusser on interpollation, Lacan on the Purloined Letter, etc.) than I’d ideally like, but I do hope it goes well.  Any comments would be awesome, however…

New Community-Police Re-figurations in Oakland

Jonathan Simon, over at Governing Through Crime has some interesting reflections on a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle:

From the article it appears that the major tactics are more beat cops walking commercial streets and the creation of a new police linked (but not managed) “outreach” initiative aimed at stalling conlicts in Oakland neighborhoods before it turns lethal.

No doubt the beat cops are reassuring, especially to business people like the furniture store owner interviewed by Chip Johnson:

“We had homeless people sleeping in our doorways, people wandering up and down the block, but when he came, that all vanished,” said Ford, 68. “I would say about four out of six days a week, he will stick his head inside the door and say hi. It’s been a great relief.”

Whether a strategy of chasing homeless people away is constitutional or sustainable in the Bay Area (especially when many of our neighbors may soon be joining their ranks) we will leave for another post, let alone whether it has any effect on violent crime.

More intriguing is the outreach initiative which Johnson credits to Mayor Ron Dellums:

Toribio said outreach workers paid for through the city’s Measure Y program have established a “strong working relationship” with some street toughs. The workers regularly target areas with patterns of violence.

“We send them in when we’ve determined there may be trouble brewing, and they work to try and let calmer heads prevail,” Toribio said.

“Most of these guys (outreach workers) grew up in some of these neighborhoods. They recognize guys from the street,” he said. “Some of them have been to prison and battled their demons, and they have a lot of credibility on the street.”

Leave aside the interesting constitutional questions of an apparatus that “work with police”, but “they aren’t agents of the police and don’t share information.” The approach sounds promising to me.

Ironically it underscores some of the problems that shadow the promise of the police. Why do the police lack so much credibility in neighborhoods suffering from violence that they need a parallel apparatus to provide them information as needed to stop or solve violent crimes? When we put more police offices on the streets how might their conduct actually exacerbate violent crime?

via Governing through Crime: The Promise of Police.

It seems, once again, that contemporary re-figurations of police practice revolve around the constellation of concepts that are central to Weber’s definition of the state.  We have new types of human communities operating on different sorts of terrain under the aegis of unique claims to legitimacy.  This is the ensemble of pragmatic political experimentation that I’ve been calling a “post-social police.