DragNet, April 2014


What was on April’s Blog Menu, you ask? A flurry of posts covering everything from issues in ethnicity, crime stat validity, police social media involvement and ongoing Ukraine and surveillance coverage, of course!

For starters, Anthropoliteia (as well as our BFFs -ahem- SavageMinds and Allegra Lab) got a nod from Henrike Florubousch in the Ledien Anthropology Blog. She provides a handy “checklist” of go-to anthropology blogs by subject. Let your intellectual fancy be your guide!

Speaking of lists, you’re definitely going to want to bookmark Jason Antrosio’s Anthropology Blogs of 2014. You may need a bigger RSS feed.

With a little help from their friends here at Anthropoliteia, Allegra Lab launched a killer timeline that serves to index all things Ukraine-related. What has struck us most about the developments in Ukraine so far? Access our responses here.  Judith Beyer’s follow-up post on the joint virtual roundtable feed and Taras Fedirko’s post for Anthropoliteia’s own Ukraine section (on the role of othering in a policing context) were also of note. Lastly, we were pleased to see Savage Minds join the Ukraine conversation, kicking off with a featured post from guest author Greta Uehling.

Tough times call for tough measures. But does this mean that information sharing between police units is justified? Michigan units are increasingly opting into data sharing across police networks. This has triggered entities like the ACLU to question the legality (and confidentiality) of such practices. Speaking of the ACLU, the theme of surveillance entered the spotlight yet again in Jay Stanley’s post, “Have We Become a Surveillance State?“. Here, Stanley offers a litmus test of sorts to evaluate this question holistically.

What’s the difference between a business’ Twitter feed and a police department’s? The propensity for genuine, civilian-level connections (at least according to the authors of a recent NIJ study). Key social media tactics utilized by the Boston Police Dept. serve as a jumping point for a larger discussion (and arguably could have aided in preventing the #myNYPD fiasco that occurred later in the month).

It was not a good month to be a student at The University of California Santa Cruz, either. Officers in full riot gear apprehended more than 20 student workers during a protest against unfair TA treatment. Although “sister-protests” were also occurring at Berkeley, Davis San Diego and Irvine campus locations, only USCS students battled arrests.

Although inmates are arguably positioned under the umbrella category of “criminal/prisoner”, the cultures and ethnicities inmates represent are numerous. Border Criminologies recaps a recent seminar they held in the Faculty of Law at Oxford University that explored the topic of prisoner identity. In a similar vein, Anthropoliteia featured a post from Paul Mutsaers regarding officer discretion and the implications of ethnic profiling of offenders.

Prison culture also resurfaced this month, with a recent panel held at Yale University focusing on the emerging narratives of prison in America. Issues such as race, marginalization and criminalization of populations are among the most powerful themes peppered throughout prison system history.

Are the National Bolivarian Police using excessive force to control protestors? In Anthropoliteia’s third post covering Venezuelan protests, Rebecca Hanson shares insights gained from speaking with officers and citizens about the role of the PNB and National Guard.

What’s in a crime stat? According to one officer I featured in our Dispatch series this month, the answer is a whole lotta politics. We’d like to thank our fellow reader, Johannes Wheeldon, for sharing a similar consideration of crime stats in a report hailing from the UK. If you still can’t get enough of crime stat literature, check out the first of a (controversial) two-part series in Chicago Magazine where the city’s questionable categorization of homicide stats is exposed.

Did you notice anything new on Anthropoliteia.net this month? Of course you did- Book Reviews! Our first review by Vino Avenesi recounts the poetry of Barrio Libre, which seeks to understand why the youth of Nogales fall for the charms of a criminal life. Be sure to let us know if you have any book review suggestions!

Being a firm believer in “save the best for last”, Beatriz Reyes-Foster’s post earns my title of “favorite blog post of the month”. In it, she warns readers about the dangers of “silent spaces” in the context of police reporting. She reminds us that it is often the data that is missing from a study that highlights its most interesting facets. Be sure to investigate further in Anthropoliteia’s From the Field / Dossiers section.


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