Book Reviews

The Poetry of Barrio Libre

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Book Review: Gilberto Rosas, Barrio Libre: Criminalizing States and Delinquent Refusals (Duke University Press, 2012).
By Vino Avanesi, undergraduate student in Culture Studies, Faculty of Humanities (Tilburg University, the Netherlands)

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

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Announcements, Book Reviews

New Feature: Book Reviews

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

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Dispatches

 

Numbers 1972, reprinted circa 1983 by Barry Flanagan 1941-2009

Numbers 1972, reprinted circa 1983 Barry Flanagan 1941-2009 Presented by Sue Flanagan, the artist’s former wife 1985 via Tate UK

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”…

 

Wondering About Crime Stats

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Dossiers

Views of Venezuelan Protests, Pt. 3: Who is Policing the Protests? A Perspective from Venezuela’s National Bolivarian Police

The editors of Anthropoliteia would like to welcome a special guest post, the third in a series from Rebecca Hanson on recent political developments in Venezuela. 

“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

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Dossiers

Order by the Books: Suicide crime scene investigations in southern Mexico

The editors of Anthropoliteia would like to welcome a special guest post from Beatriz Reyes-Foster as part of our series of anthropological reports From the Field

Abstract

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.

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DragNet

DragNet, March 2014

♫ Duh duh duh duh ♫  The editors of Anthropoliteia would like to introduce yet another new regular feature: DragNet.  An addition to our “Round Ups” series, DragNet will offer monthly highlights of the English-language academic blogosphere for topics related to policing, security, crime and punishment around the world.  We’re thrilled to have Kristin Castner serving as the Section Editor and lead author for the feature. ♫ Duh duh duh duh DUH ♫

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Dossiers

Thoughts on policing in Turkey – Football and beyond

The editors of Anthropoliteia would like to welcome a special guest post from Yağmur Nuhrat as part of our series of anthropological reports From the Field

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

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Dossiers

Views of Venezuelan Protests Part II: La Desconfianza and the Venezuelan Opposition

The editors of Anthropoliteia would like to welcome a special guest post, the second in a series from Rebecca Hanson on recent political developments in Venezuela. A version of this piece originally appeared on the blog Venezuela Politics and Human Rights as “La Desconfianza: The View from Western Caracas II
Mural from a wall in Catia © Rebecca Hanson

Mural from a wall in Catia. The literal translation is “knee on the ground” but the term originally arose from the military to refer to the position of a shooter with one knee on the ground to take a shot. Chavistas use it metaphorically to mean that they are prepared for battle or to do whatever it takes to protect the Bolivarian Revolution. © Rebecca Hanson

“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.

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Dossiers

Policing an Occupied Legislature, Part Three: Throwing Police Under the Bus.

[Updated 2014/03/25]

Propaganda from a Taiwanese protest camp

Fig. 1. Propaganda from the protest camp regarding last night’s police action: “You go to sleep. When you awake, Taiwan is not the same”

“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!”

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Dossiers

Views of Venezuelan Protests Part I: Where are the Poor Protestors?

The editors of Anthropoliteia would like to welcome the first in a series of special guest posts from Rebecca Hanson on recent political developments in Venezuela.   This piece originally appeared on the blog Venezuela Politics and Human Rights as “Venezuelan Protests from the View of Western Caracas

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.

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