EASA2014: Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution
Security and citizenship (Peace and Conflict Studies in Anthropology Network)
Date and Start Time 02 August, 2014 at 09:00
Security is a significant concept that organizes modern lives and contemporary debates centre on the price we are willing to pay for feeling secure. This panel will explore the physical, social and political boundaries that this drive for security creates, and how this impacts citizenship.
Security has become one of the most important concepts that organize modern lives. It seems to be a national obsession in many societies and, increasingly, contemporary debates centre on the price we are willing to pay for feeling secure. This panel explores the physical, social and political boundaries and separations that this drive for security creates, and how this impacts citizenship. We invite papers that investigate how the security practices of both private and public actors can be analysed as claims to sovereign power through the construction and securing of social boundaries and physical borders. In what ways do security companies, police forces, vigilante organisations, neighbourhood watches and other security agents differentiate between who is a threat and who is not? What mechanisms of racial, religious or political profiling are applied and how? Who is allowed to enter specific urban areas, such as gated communities, and who is not? How do such borders, both physical and symbolic, construct particular moral communities? We seek to uncover how boundaries are drawn within nation-states, cities and/or neighbourhoods in the quest for more security, how processes of 'othering' are legitimized and contested, and how this influences negotiations of citizenship. What do citizens expect from both public and private actors in terms of their security, how do these expectations construct the landscape of security governance, how does this shape political subjectivities? We invite both ethnographic and theoretical contributions that explore these various approaches to security and the creation of boundaries.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Relational policing: patrolling public spaces in Ghana
The paper explores police patrol work in Ghana and the social orders it creates. Patrol work is relational, and its meaning depends on the police officers’ counterparts. The stateness of the police is perpetually lost and gained in these various relations.
The police in Ghana claim to provide security by everyday patrolling. But Ghanaians utter widely varying assessments of patrol work, often in one and the same conversation. This papers argues that patrol work is relational and that its meaning depends on the patrol team's three main counterparts. First, patrol work is directed against traders of illicit goods, and these interactions often involve the handover of money and mutual entanglements. These practices call into question police credibility. Second, the patrol team's everyday interventions are aimed at civilians on the street. However, civilians successfully resist police interventions, and police officers have to adapt to existing social boundaries. Ghanaian police officers rarely actively produce security, in other words specific social orders; they only do so by displacing particular people momentarily from some central spaces. Lastly, police officers conduct patrols in relation to the imagined national community. Often one patrol car covers 100,000 civilians, making the limited capability of the police to reduce crime and maintain order clearly apparent. However, officer ascertain the police's authority in public spaces by merely patrolling and through rare violent acts against perceived enemies of the community. Due to this successful symbolic work, Ghanaians perpetually ask for more police patrols and cannot imagine a social order without the police, despite the patrol team's failure to act as an emergency service. Ultimately, the stateness of the police, their claim to sovereign power, is fleeting. They gain this quality more in relation to some counterparts, but less in relation to others.
The police reform in Georgia: creation of boundaries in a post-revolutionary country
The paper examines how the revamped police apparatus in post-revolutionary Georgia has played a central role in creating new social boundaries, categories and types. It analyses how the state defines itself as a “legal-rational domain” through the war that is waged against criminals.
The paper will examine the period of the presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili (2003-2012) in Georgia and analyse the central role played by the revamped police apparatus in the construction of new social boundaries, categories and types. The paper studies the police apparatus under the aspect of production instead of repression (Wacquant 2009) as a state-crafting exercise. The creation of a patrol police in 2004 in Georgia composed of young, professional and non-corrupt recruits has rapidly become the symbol of a new Westernising nation in contrast to the old policemen as representatives of the failed Georgian state of the 1990s. Furthermore, the war on crime which was waged against the notorious Soviet-era criminals "thieves-in-law" has also had the effect of opposing two different normative models of Georgianness: the anti-state criminal mentality of Soviet times against the model of the loyal and professional civil servant. The reassertion of the state as a "legal-rational domain" through anti-corruption measures has as a result the creation of new spaces of criminality and marginality, particularly the rising importance of the prison space. Paradoxically, the creation of these areas that are not in the public gaze allow the recourse to a notion of "legal lawlessness" (Jobard 2012) or "state of exception" and the emergence of extra-legal practices performed by the law-enforcement agencies. While the state is represented as a "legal-rational domain" in the official rhetoric, the police ultimately engages in unlawful behaviours through the constitution of criminal domains.
The multi-cultural city as a challenge for the police in Bremen (Germany)
What are the points of view of police officers when they are confronted with cultural others? How do they decide who is controlled and searched and who can pass? In my paper I present first results of my research project on transcultural competence within the police in Bremen.
Official representatives of the police state cultural diversity a major challenge for the daily work of police officers. A central concern is to get in contact with minority communities and build up trust in the institutions of security. In contrast to the general principles there are many reports of police officers discriminating against people because of their nationality, ethnicity or simply their colour of skin. This gap between official mission statements and daily practise has been analysed by several scholars as the outcome of two different organisational cultures within the police: as opposition of managers and street cops (Reuss-Ianni 1983, Behr 2006). In my paper I argue that this result of determination is too simple. Racism is not the fault of the rank and file, but has to be analysed within the dimensions of structure of the institutions of security, agency of different actors in this field and representation of cultural difference in the society.
As an anthropologist from outside I had the chance to evaluate an intercultural training program for police officers in Bremen. I joined discussions about what is perceived as difficult about difference of culture in the daily work of contact policemen in Bremen. My paper informs of which structural impediments have been appointed, what personal agencies can be described and which stereotypes and predicaments dominate the discourse in urban society.
Collective identification, security and statehood: Northeast African examples
In Northeast Africa state boundaries and forms of collective identification and entitlement have undergone recent change. This paper examines with which population groups states identify and which groups are discriminated against, the criteria by which this is done, and the security issues emerging from this.
Northeast Africa is a part of the globe in which new states have recently been emerging. In the 1991-1993 period Eritrea, after a long war, has split from Ethiopia, since 1991 Somalia has split into various entities among which the one recognized by the UN is not among the ones which comes closest to having state-like institutions and a range of territorial control on the ground, and South Sudan has split from Sudan in 2011 and now shows serious tendencies of continued fission on a smaller scale. In a similar fashion, Sudan, after shedding its former periphery (South Sudan) now seems to shed the next layer of periphery, the south of the north (South Kordofan, Blue Nile…). New and contested national boundaries are not the only problems related to issues of collective identification and security. With the advance of globalized agrarian capitalism, reallocation of vast areas of land (‚land grabbing') takes place and entire local communities are displaced. If they defend themselves, the state tends to view this resistance as a mere issue of security, accusing marginalized population groups of lack of loyalty, ‚anti-development' attitudes and hostility to the state, ‚rebellion' or even ‚terrorism'. How these groups are compensated or not reflect the identification of the state and the state class with parts of the population more than with other parts. The paper explores the criteria (linguistic, ‚racial', historical) by which such discriminations are made.
Sovereignty, violence and governmentality in Rio de Janeiro
This paper analyzes the discursive boundaries between citizen-subjects in Rio de Janeiro in order to understand how security measures are evaluated differently according to the urban areas where actors operate.
In Rio de Janeiro, different modes of reasoning about justice overlap dispersedly and uncomfortably with different geographical areas of the city. Whereas in certain neighborhoods of the city, policemen use excessive force without much restraint or public debate, other neighborhoods are perceived and described as defendable at all costs (if necessary by vigilantes, according to public opinion). In an attempt to understand U.S. intellectual reactions in the aftermath of the 11th September attacks, Judith Butler analyzes the emotional-political responses to death and violence in relation U.S. citizenship by asking the question: 'which lives are deemed grievable and which are not?' (2003). Interrogating the interplay between sovereignty and governmentality, Butler analyzes, amongst others, the pubic discourses, that reproduce boundaries between different kinds of subjects in (inter)national context. This paper presents a modest attempt to analyze discursive/performative boundaries between citizen-subjects in Rio de Janeiro in order to understand how similar state actions - related to security - are evaluated differently according to the geographical areas where its actors operate. As I will argue, different modes of reasoning about justice are strongly related to attempts to 'fix' the common perception of certain urban areas as spaces that escape the rule of law of the state, which subsequently are employed to legitimize 'security' operations by (military) policemen in such areas.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.