9 comments on “Police/military/city

  1. Pingback: Police/military/city: Derek Gregory on the blurring of policing and military violence « Experimental Geographies

  2. Pingback: War Ecologies: Weaponizing Nature « rhulgeopolitics

  3. This blurring is a central concern of my dissertation, titled for the moment “American Streets, Foreign Territory: How Counterinsurgent Knowledge Militarized Policing and Criminalized Blackness,” which is about the multiscalar, multidirectional circulations of knowledge, technologies, and personnel during the “counterinsurgent era” of the 1960s that led into the “law and order” era of the 1970s and beyond.

    In addition to Foucault’s “boomerang effect,” which he labeled “considerable,” Aimé Césaire also discussed a similar “boomerang effect,” which he labeled “terrific” in 1950, in reference to the Nazis’ adoption of concentration camps like German colonialists had used in Africa. Arendt referred to this repatriation too. These remain understudied, but it strikes me that by the mid-1960s, and certainly today, it becomes less clear where the experimentation occurs and where the general application of the results occurs.

    Thus, repatriation might not be the right word, as the solidification of national borders at the level of ideology or political legitimacy goes hand-in-hand with its undermining by to-and-fro, constantly cycling practices of security, policing, COIN, and so on in the name of protecting US national space and sovereignty from threats internal and external. Trying to figure out whether a threat was internal or external was a major focus of US security research in the 1960s both at home and abroad, which was probably the wrong question to ask all along. Moreover, if we decry “repatriation” only, we risk calling attention only to the inappropriateness of the application of COIN at home when we should probably be worried about its application ANYWHERE!

  4. Thanks for this Stuart. I completely agree: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve given a presentation on counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq only to be asked: “Don’t you realise the same practices take place here?” This happened so frequently I started to think of it as a radical narcissism in which we end up worrying primarily about ourselves. (Incidentally there’s a similar tendency in some of the commentary on targeted killing, when the US targeting of an American citizen provokes far more outrage from many commentators than the targeting of others; I realise it raises – some – different issues, but that’s not my point here). In general, I think there are complex circulations between (for example) the Afghanistan/Pakistan border and (for example) the US/Mexico border, and I doubt very much that this can be reduced to experimentation “there” and subsequent refinement “here” – it cuts both ways.

  5. Pingback: Military/Policing and the US/Mexico border « geographical imaginations

  6. Pingback: State terror and historical memory in Guatemala | geographical imaginations

  7. Pingback: Securing the volumes | geographical imaginations

  8. Pingback: War comes home | geographical imaginations

  9. Pingback: Police/military/city – swasteeranjan

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