The title of Rosas’ work suggests a balance between the concreteness of Mexican barrio’s and the abstraction found behind scholarly walls. One could say that ‘Barrio Libre’ did not disappoint, in fact, it surpassed expectation. In order to offer the reader a deep understanding of the phenomenon called Barrio Libre, Rosas theorizes in his work the multiple threads which come together in the phenomenon. According to Rosas these social, economic and political threads constitute the fabric of the problems underlying the emergence of Barrio Libre. Continue reading
Over the last couple of months we’ve already introduced two new suites of features: the first being a series of periodic digests from academic journals, around the web (which we call DragNet) and in the news that we’re collectively calling “Round Ups” and the second being the collection of original contributions from researchers From the Field, which we’ve further broken down into impressionistic Dispatches and more fully-developed Dossiers.
Now the editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to announce the first in a third “suite” of features which we’re collectively calling “Bibliographemes”. The neologism is a a play on Roland Barthes’ term “biographeme,” of which Richard Elliott, drawing on Seán Burke, writes: Continue reading
Studies in Police Science often use language such as “police initiative x was found to be successful because of an x% reduction in crime.” But what does this actually mean, in any lived sense? To gain perspective I reached out to an officer I worked with during my thesis research back in 2012, to which he replied:
“Crime stats don’t really mean too much on a patrol level. Stats are used by police chiefs to say, “Look what we have done.” Crime has nothing to do with arrests. Poverty has everything to do with it. (His patrol area) used to be one of the most dangerous in the U.S. But when initiatives started pushing out the poor, crime sank to an all-time low. (His patrol area) is yuppie-ville; it has nothing to do with the police department. Most officers like to see spikes in crime when they don’t like the chief. It’s an easy way to get rid of them. When the public feels unsafe the head of the organization gets replaced. So that’s how crime states are used on a patrol level.”
So, there you have it. It appears that crime stats (at least in one officer’s opinion) join the ranks of the other politically charged facets of the criminal justice system. Now more than ever, I’m wondering exactly why these stats carry so much weight in determining which initiatives are “best”…
“It is better to think of the police as providing support to the National Guard in the protests [as opposed to the other way around]. The National Guard has more experience and more training…and they aren’t restricted [in their use of force] like us…We can’t even defend ourselves.” –National Police officer-in-training
The complex and contested relationship between representatives of a Mexican law enforcement agency and the citizenry it claims to protect is visible in the documents it produces. Ethnographic material further deepens our understanding of the ways in which law enforcement agents and common citizens form relationships based on negotiation and distrust.
Over the past summer, international audiences became aware of severe police violence during Turkey’s Gezi protests. In summer 2013, what started out as a peaceful demonstration in Istanbul to save a public park quickly led to a national uprising against the government. The resistance was marked with intense police violence in the form of tear gas, plastic bullets and pressurized water from cannons. In October 2013, Amnesty International called these actions “gross human rights violations.” Continue reading
“It makes no sense! You go into a Chavista’s house and Chávez and Maduro’s faces are everywhere but you open their fridge and it is empty! Empty!” This was the passionate reaction I received from an acquaintance I was chatting with yesterday when I commented that protests in Caracas have not seemed to receive support from popular sectors in the city.
“Police friends,” said the student with a microphone, speaking over the heads of people facing him to the riot troops massing in the street behind them, “We have a chance to make history tonight! Join with us! Show the autocratic Ma government that the people and police are united!”
Images of burning tires, masked youth, and clashes between citizens and state security forces have accompanied almost all news coverage of Venezuela for the past few weeks. And these well-documented protests and the government response to them have, as blogger Francisco Toro wrote, changed the political game in Venezuela for the foreseeable future.
To fully appreciate these changes, however, we need to also appreciate the geographical limits of the opposition protests. Taking into account where protests are not occurring, and why, is important in understanding what they represent for residents who do not live in the zones where protests have erupted.