Jun 14 – 17, 2022
Europe/London timezone

Policing’s contested relationalities

Jun 16, 2022, 4:45 PM
1h 30m
Martin Luther King, Student Union

Martin Luther King, Student Union

Colonial, Postcolonial and Decolonial Working Group


Policing’s geographic location and borders have long been taken for granted rather than being subjects of explicit analysis and theorization. Policing is most frequently associated with a small scale and ‘domestic’ realm, assuming a mythic status as a quintessentially local state institution (Seigel 2018). Yet as policing’s colonial and imperial origins (Brogden 1987; Khalili 2012) have been excavated and recuperated in recent years, this mythic status is emerging as a vigorous and productive site of reevaluation across a range of social science fields (Schrader 2019; Seigel 2018) including IR (Honke and Muller 2016; Howell 2018; Neolcleous 2014). This transnational and relational shift in focus, however, is not merely descriptive of police in its actually existing forms. It has shown how the routine transgressions of the political and geographic boundaries of police have been predicated on comparisons between different sites that have in turn enabled these circulations to take place and which have made possible the exchange of ideas, logics and tactics between different state authorities. Building on these conversations, this roundtable grapples with two key dimensions of the contested relationalities of policing. First, is how conceptual and material connections across time inform state violence against racialized communities and structure new logics of pacification. Second, is how attending to contested relationalities might inform anti-colonial, anti-racist and abolitionist organizing in specific locations but also transnationally. Bringing together case studies from Palestine, the US, India and the UK, this roundtable reflects on the common logics, patterns and techniques of pacification and order-making, but also on the disjunctures between multiple ontologies of violence and the possible frictions at play in the border crossings of police work.

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