Practicum

New Feature: Practicum– Applying Anthropology to the Study of Policing, Security, Crime and Criminal Justice Systems

Police Call Box, Washington, DC © Jennie Simpson 2014

Police Call Box, Washington, DC © Jennie Simpson 2014

Welcome to the new bimonthly feature, Practicum on Anthropoliteia! I am your host and will be guiding this journey into an exploration of the intersections of applied and practicing anthropology with the study of policing, security, crime, and criminal justice systems. Today’s column focuses on mapping out the unique niche of applied work in policing. Comments are welcome!

A year ago, I was asked by a former chief of police now active in policy and research to write a white paper mapping out what a “police anthropologist” might look like, replete with arguments on how anthropologists could contribute both to the study of policing and to police departments. I spent many hours reflecting on my own work with police agencies and imagining how I could translate anthropological aims and methods into work with police agencies. The result was a thoughtful exercise in outlining how anthropologists might be integrated into the world of policing, in which I argued:

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