How to deal with differences based on culture, ethnicity and race has become a key issue of policing in public debates globally. The public discourse is dominated by shocking news events, many of them happening in the US, but also in Europe. This book looks at everyday, often mundane, interactions between police officers and migrantised actors in European countries and explores how both sides deal with perceived differences. Taking an ethnographic approach, the book contributes to the development of a comparative and distinctly European perspective on policing. The study of the practices, discourses and beliefs of actors themselves is an epistemological positioning, while often ethically challenging, which is unavoidable for a nuanced understanding of policing. By adopting an ethnographic and multi-perspective approach, the contributors to this book study the possible course of action, perspectives and rationalities of both sides in these encounters. The book presents empirically grounded contributions from various European countries, jointly developing a field of study and generating robust concepts in a highly politicised field, bringing together anthropology, criminology, history, sociology and linguistics.
This chapter analyses the configurations of a transnational cooperation police programme for Portuguese-speaking African students in Portugal (PALOP). I show how the policy of Lusophony, which aims to promote the translation of late postcolonial differences, in practice produces spaces of othering and racialisation. In a learning context charged with national and historical references, the African cadets witness another side of the virtuous Lusophony. Based on historical and ethnographic data, I describe how despite the promised solidarity of the cooperation, the imperative colonial past still claims dominance, generating multiple ambiguities in the learning and social environments.
In this chapter, I reflect on the relation of police–minority interactions to the contexts that condition the shape of these encounters and which the encounters, in turn, sustain. These are the context of law (the relation of ‘underground’ categories of race to supposedly race-neutral bureaucratic and legal processes); the context of work (the relation of police race-making to the tragic properties of the police mandate), and the context of inequality (the relation of situated police re-enactments of difference to the already existing structure and cultural representation of racialised injustice). My claim is that police action draws upon a system of racialised categorisation and puts its categories to work situationally, while also re-authorising and putting back into circulation social knowledge about racialised difference, as well as the generic idea that ‘race’ is and should be a relevant category for thinking about crime, ordering and justice.
Centred on the idea that police forces are often a focal point for conflict in today’s societies, this chapter takes an interest in big data policing in Amsterdam as a contested development. Looking at the socio-technical preconditions of such new, algorithmic forms of policing brings to the surface that police forces employ certain grids of legibility upon the input they receive from communities, both by recognising only certain forms of input as legitimate, and by decomposing individuals into their predictive features. Against the background of a grim conflict between police officers and young Moroccan Dutchmen, the authors offer a selected description of three security innovations on the basis of the six months of fieldwork in Amsterdam that were part of larger ethnographic study of the Dutch police (2008–13).
‘Parallel society’ is a term with clear negative connotations, often used as self-evident without further need for explanation. In Northern Europe, the term has been used to describe a danger scenario – an unwillingness to integrate, a growing risk of disintegrated society, crime, ethnic enclaves and Islamic fundamentalism – and it has provided journalists, police and politicians with a ‘scientific’ term to forward anti-migration and anti-multiculturalism discourses. The term ‘parallel society’ (parallellsamhällen) is new to Sweden, but has lately been increasingly used in reports from the police, where it is framed as a force on its way to take over core societal structures in socio-economically vulnerable areas, such as criminal and private law, banking, housing and labour markets. The ambition of this chapter is to examine the content of the term ‘parallel society’ as it is used in reports from the police, and scrutinise this use considering notions of a punitive turn and the practice of categorisation of population groups in Swedish criminal policy and practice. By drawing on examples of a recent police operation in Sweden and the Danish ‘parallel society law’, I argue that the parallel society discourse might have consequences in terms of police work, by affecting how the police understand and thus act upon social problems and social phenomena, and that this is driven by categorising some population groups as the foreign ‘other’. By transforming social phenomena and problems into police questions, they are translated and understood as criminal problems, as are the population groups connected to the phenomena.
Our ethnographic research aimed at exploring the communicative practices of police officers in Germany when encountering speakers of different languages. However, we soon realised that they face similar communicative issues in many other encounters. Therefore, this chapter widens the focus, not only studying communicative practices when different ‘named languages’ are involved, but also exploring encounters involving differing language varieties, styles and registers; these differences are not grounded in nationality or culture but in the citizens’ class, community, state of mind and more. In these encounters, police officers routinely reach a sufficient level of understanding by mixing languages and language varieties, by using gestures, by relying on common-sense sequences of bureaucracy, and ultimately by employing the potential to use violence. Surprisingly, the main challenge – and the main source of misunderstanding – is not translation in a linguistic sense, but the need to translate complex everyday situations according to organisational guidelines and legal norms. Communicative practices are intertwined with ‘doing police’ – the challenge of translating between citizens’ expectations and organisational rationalities of the police.
Rather than focusing merely on a rejection of the state and capitalism, activists involved in the collective visioning took as their starting point a more expansive view of the interdependent and entangled nature of their own and others’ multiple struggles. Thus, in Chapter 5 – ‘Activating the agapeic web’ we first explore (r)evolutionary love as a radical solidarity – producing spontaneous mutual aid at times of rapid social change, and acting to establish affinity both in and across movement organisations. Next, the chapter examines how throughout history revolutionary movements have been co-opted by political parties in order to gain power for their own self-interest rather than completing the task of dismantling the institutions of state domination. The perceived antinomy of revolutionary and evolutionary theories of social change is then questioned and the central concept of (r)evolution unpacked and proposed as an alternative model for radical social transformation. And drawing on contemporary anarchist debates, the temporal gap between current struggles and imagined futures is problematised, prefigurative praxes critiqued and a politics of immanence suggested in remedy. And finally, the question of how a free society might respond to the potential of violence and ongoing political contestation is examined, arguing that (r)evolutionary love might offer the ethical/relational basis for the development of new processes of agonistic pluralism to augment consensus-based approaches.
Chapter 1 – ‘The anarchy of love’ first isolates and traces a distinct lineage of (r)evolutionary love that has acted to animate radical social transformation throughout history. Starting with the anarchists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the chapter also follows their Marxist revolutionary cousins; feminist perspectives on love; the anti-colonial revolutionaries of the twentieth century; the civil rights activists of the 1960s; and in recent years the number of anarchist political philosophers and social movement theorists who have explored whether love can be utilised as a useful key concept for a new political theory of global revolution. Next, in order to further define the (r)evolutionary love this book explores, a close analytical reading is undertaken of the works of influential anarchist revolutionary and theorist Emma Goldman and autonomist theorist Michael Hardt, who have both pursued such a political concept of love. And through exploring themes of love as domination, love as transformation, and love as freedom, the chapter examines the relevance and potentialities of this political force for contemporary ecological, anti-capitalist, feminist and anti-racist activists. We explore how the disorienting of conventional political schemas and the expansive trajectory of their political imaginary prealign Goldman and Hardt with aspects of emerging work in posthumanism in which a number of scholars are starting to extend their thinking about love to include non-humans, the environment, technology and even matter itself – to which the chapter then turns.
This chapter explores Sheffield City Council’s policies in the late 1970s and 1980s and the ideology behind them. It examines the ideal of the ‘Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire’ as imagined by David Blunkett and others on Sheffield City Council, showing how policy was influenced by new urban left thinkers and left-wingers working in local governments elsewhere in Britain to come up with a workable alternative to Thatcherism. Highlighting four key policies – the development of nuclear-free zones, the protection of cheap bus fares, the Community Work Apprenticeship Scheme and the campaign against ‘Right to Buy’ sales of social housing – it explains how Sheffield’s ‘local socialism’ took on a local character, addressing issues seen as being specific to the city and surrounding area, whilst also speaking to national debates and incorporating themes explored elsewhere in the British left.
Chapter 6 – ‘The collective heart: Co-constituting free society’ argues that the agency of (r)evolutionary love offers a direct (and directable) causal effect on our multiple entangled relations, and to the extent to which they will lead to intimate and social relations of domination or liberation. Strategically developing political praxes grounded in this love might therefore provide the basis upon which to co-constitute free society here-and-now – as an imaginative/responsive ongoing process rather than reverting to default capitalistic, patriarchal, racist or anthropocentric modes of reproduction, and thus provide a means of sustaining such a system in the absence of domination. But (many will undoubtedly ask) how realistic can such a profound reconfiguration actually be? And the answer, somewhat unsurprisingly given the sheer scale of struggle visible today, is that there are in fact many living, vibrant examples of such societal formations across the world right now which might inspire us. The chapter first turns to the Zapatista revolution as one such example, and specifically the Indigenous concept of O’on or ‘collective heart’, examining its central role in the social reproduction of their communities and organisational structures. A critique of contemporary international relations theory and its reification of the state as sole political actor follows, and finally a second example is explored – of the extraordinary experiment in horizontal participatory democracy taking place in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.