This essay continues in the vein of scholars in this series whose contributions have highlighted the transnational reach and localized complexities of the Black Lives Matter movement and its conditions of possibility, including Faye Harrison, Jaime Alves, Noah Tamarkin and others. It questions concepts of humanity, intersectionality, and inclusion by mobilizing scholarship and public engagement around racialized and postcolonial police violence from a multi-sited (and perhaps not intuitively linked) location: Canada-cum-India. Continue reading
In the past week and a half there has been a wave of stories out of Winnipeg that shine a spotlight not only on police practices but larger questions about the ongoing legacies of colonialism, structural violence and institutional racism that play out in this settler nation. More specifically, I am talking about Tina Fontaine as her case returned to the headlines last week with the sentencing of her father’s killers; and an admission by Winnipeg police that officers saw the missing teen and did not take her into protective custody—it is believed she was murdered shortly thereafter.
I will state here, at the outset, that I am not writing this article to blame these police officers for Tina’s death. On the contrary, I am writing this to join many other voices that are pointing out the need for systemic change in Canada.
Came across this today via H-Net Reviews:
Zhiqiu Lin. Policing the Wild North-West: A Sociological Study of the Provinvial Police in Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1905-1932. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2006. 210 pp. $34.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-55238-171-7.
Reviewed by Joel Kropf (Carleton University)
Published on H-Canada (September, 2009)
Commissioned by Stephanie Bangarth
For the most part, it’s a thoroughly well-written review on what seems like a responsible piece of scholarship. In other words, I can’t see why it might be interesting at all (maybe Michelle, our resident Canada expert, can help me see more of what’s at stake here?).
One thing that did pop out at me, though, was this:
…he intends the term “professionalization” to evoke “rationalization” and Max Weber’s ideas concerning the latter. “Calculable and predictable rules and procedures” have tended more and more to infuse organizations and enterprises in many nineteenth- and twentieth-century societies, and this holds true, Lin believes, in the case of policing in Western Canada (p. 203n7). By no means does Lin claim that the patterns and approaches emerging among Canadian police during the period of his study always possessed a more professionalized flavor than their previous practices had. Sometimes the provincial police went with the less professionalized alternative from among the options that they might potentially have pursued. On the whole, however, the police found it attractive to incorporate new doses of professionalism into their patterns of work. After all, citizens who noted a police force’s proclivity for professionalized dealings became less likely to worry that they might suffer from prejudiced actions or capricious responses on the part of officers. And this, in turn, tended to reduce the chances that police would find their efforts impeded by distrust or recalcitrance on the part of the people among whom they worked.
There’s something that seems a bit off there; i’m still trying to put my finger on exactly what it is. It’s in the reading of Weber, for one (I love Max, but whatever… I can let that slide), but also in the portrait it offers of Canadians as fundamentally rational actors in search of a government worthy of them. Maybe that’s more accurate than I think, but something smells off there, to me… to be continued after some reflection.