Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project, Features, Pedagogy

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus, Week 21: Maurice Magaña on Seeing Race and Citizenship in the U.S. through Ava Duvernay’s 13th

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to continue an ongoing series The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, which will mobilize anthropological work as a pedagogical exercise addressing the confluence of race, policing and justice. You can see a growing bibliography of resources via our Mendeley feed.  In this entry,  Maurice Magaña discusses seeing race and citizenship through Ava DuVernay’s documentary film, “13th.” 

13th

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project, Pedagogy

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus, Week 20: Sameena Mulla on Policing Mental Health and Metzl’s The Protest Psychosis

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to continue an ongoing series The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, which will mobilize anthropological work as a pedagogical exercise addressing the confluence of race, policing and justice. You can see a growing bibliography of resources via our Mendeley feed.  In this entry,  Sameena Mulla discusses the entanglements of mental health diagnostic categories, policing, and criminalization. 

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Dontre Hamilton. Alfred Olango. Lavall Hall. Laquan McDonald. We say their names and are reminded of one recurring theme in the on-going discussion about racialized police brutality: the deadly confluences between mental health crises and the lethal force that meets them in police responses. Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project, Call for papers, Uncategorized

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus Project, Week 17: Riché Barnes on #BlackFamiliesMatter, Especially Black Mothers

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to relaunch the second semester of an ongoing series The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, which will mobilize anthropological work as a pedagogical exercise addressing the confluence of race, policing and justice. You can see a growing bibliography of resources via our Mendeley feed.  In this entry,  Riché Barnes discusses #BlackFamiliesMatter, especially Black mothers.

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I was just about done with this blogpost when given this weekend and the past week’s news I had to regroup. The Trump administration’s war on families picked up momentum this week with yet another assault. As I watched people gathered in airports with hand-made signs reading “we want grandma,” while journalists interviewed people waiting, hoping, and praying their loved ones would not be detained, or worse, deported. As I heard people repeatedly say, “we talked to him as he was boarding the plane,” but we haven’t heard from him since,” I was immediately taken to that old refrain of not hearing or getting word, but somehow knowing something awful had happened and it would change the course of your life forever. Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus Project, Week 13: Noah Tamarkin on thinking with South African Activists and Artists

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to present the latest entry in on ongoing series The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, which will mobilize anthropological work as a pedagogical exercise addressing the confluence of race, policing and justice.  You can see a growing bibliography of resources via our Mendeley feed.   In this entry, Noah Tamarkin discusses thinking with South African activists and artists.
Ayanda Mabulu at DF Contemporary

Ayanda Mabulu at DF Contemporary

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In the Journals

In the Journals – August 2015

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Welcome back to In the Journals, a round-up of recent journal publications on security, crime, law enforcement and the state. After a brief hiatus over the summer, we’re happy to be back with a batch of the most recent articles and reviews for our dear readers.

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Tip of the Cap

Social Control in the Streets and the Suburbs: Understanding the “Code of the Suburb”

By Scott Jacques

PrintCode of the Suburb, which I co-authored with Richard Wright, is based on interviews with 30 adolescents who grew up and sold drugs in middle-class suburbia. Why did they get into drug dealing? How did they procure and distribute their supply? How did they prevent and respond to victimization, legal trouble, and parental problems? Why did they quit? The answers are to be found at the intersection of the dealers’ attempts to be cool while simultaneously pursuing conventional success. This is the book in a nutshell.

Anyone who has read Anderson’s Code of the Street instantly will recognize that he influenced my work. Both codes – street and suburban – are informal rules governing interpersonal behavior, particularly violence. The major difference between them is that the code of the street maintains that violence is a good, or at least an acceptable, way to handle conflict, whereas the code of the suburb holds the opposite to be true.

In my book, the code of the suburb revealed itself in how the sellers responded to being stolen from. The stereotypical understanding of dealers is that they abide by the code of the street and, therefore, their modal response to victimization is violent retaliation. Yet the suburban dealers rarely acted as vigilantes, and even when they did, minor bruises rather than bullet wounds were the result. Instead, they responded to victimization with more peaceful means, such as trying to talk out a resolution with the offender, cutting them off, or doing nothing. When I asked the dealers to explain their nonviolent responses, they often said things like “I don’t want to hurt somebody” and “Better to write stuff like that off.”

Though someone may have uttered it before me, to my knowledge I coined the phrase “code of the 51fN7YSRfnLsuburb.” What I like about it is that people instantly get what it is that I am referring to, so long as they are already familiar with the code of the street. However, what I label the code of the suburb is very similar to what M.P. Baumgartner, author of The Moral Order of a Suburb, calls a “philosophy of moral minimalism.”

Referring to this philosophy, Baumgartner explains that

[T]he most basic component of this system is a strong conviction that conflict is a social contaminant, something to be prevented if at all possible and to be ended quickly once begun.

She goes on to further describe this philosophy, which includes being embarrassed by embroilment in public conflict, a negative attitude toward violence, and positive opinions of toleration and avoidance. A testament to her work, and why I admire it, is that she more or less predicted and described my participants’ orientation to conflict years before they ever took up drug selling.

Works Referenced

Anderson, Elijah. 1999. Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Baumgartner, M. P. 1988. The Moral Order of a Suburb. New York: Oxford University Press.

Scott Jacques is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia State University. His work has been published in journals such as CriminologyCrime & DelinquencyThe International Journal of Drug PolicyThe Journal of Research in Crime and DelinquencyJustice Quarterly, and Theoretical Criminology. His book (co-authored with Richard Wright) is entitled Code of the Suburb: Inside the World of Young Middle-Class Drug Dealers (University of Chicago Press).

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Practicum

Do Police Departments Need Anthropologists?

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Police Call Box © Jennie Simpson

As a new year quickly approaches, and we reflect on the increasing calls for police accountability and a critical review of excessive use of force, I want to take this time to review the past year of Practicum and pose two questions for anthropologists and police agencies alike: do police agencies need anthropologists? And what might that look like?

Since its debut, Practicum has explored the practice of applied anthropologists working on issues of policing, criminal justice, juvenile justice and corrections. I’ve been remarkably heartened to see that a community of practitioners exists who have successfully applied the lens and research methodologies of anthropology to these issues. These anthropologists have “produced anthropology” (nod to the 2014 AAA Annual Meeting) in practice in juvenile justice, corrections, and policing and raised the profile of how anthropologists- through theoretical orientation, research techniques, analysis, and praxis- can contribute to the improvement of justice systems.

With this in mind, and a new year approaching, I want to propose a bit of radical thinking. Perhaps it won’t be radical to some of you, and perhaps for others, it might be a bit controversial. But with the events of Ferguson, continued fatalities in interactions between police and people with behavioral health disorders, and the tensions that structural violence and inequalities produce, I see a place for anthropologists placed within police departments. In an excellent panel discussion hosted by the Urban Institute and featuring Chief Ron Brown (Ret.), Chief Cathy Lanier, and Dr. Tracie Keesee, which I encourage you to view, I was struck by the progressive vision of policing and law enforcement that was presented. However, recalling my own experience in working with police officers, I know how hard implementation- even of the best vision- can be, especially within a hierarchical organization. While criminologists have made concrete headways into working within police organizations, anthropologists have not made similar strides. While I can speculate that this can be attributed to the discipline’s historical orientation and notions of appropriate subjects of study and practice, with the emergence of a strong contingent of academic and practicing anthropologists focusing on policing, criminal justice, and security, I find this may be the perfect time to consider how anthropologists can work with and within police organizations.

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