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Call for Papers, AAA 2015

Call for Papers for Executive Session Submission:

Policing, Estrangement, and Social Inequalities: Denaturalizing Law Enforcement and Police-based Governance

2015 American Anthropological Association Meeting

November 18-22, Denver, Colorado

From Michael Brown to Eric Garner and beyond, recent public attention to African American deaths occurring at the hands of law enforcement officers in the United States has reignited familiar conversations about police relationships with minority communities. Meanwhile, just as President Obama’s year-end immigration announcement pledges to shift the landscape of immigrant policing across the country, we reach a record-high 2.5 million deportations on his watch. While anthropology has long played a critical role in exposing how regimes of social control are perpetuated through taken-for-granted, normalized systems of authority, events such as these suggest there may be a renewed public space for anthropological intervention that helps draw attention to policing and make sense of its effects. Following this year’s AAA theme calling for questioning the familiar and making it strange, we seek papers that denaturalize policing and law enforcement and question how policing supports social inequalities. We specifically seek papers that explore how policing, broadly conceived as law enforcement actions or policy created with specific governing ideals, reinforces power hierarchies based on race, sex, citizenship, or other forms of social difference. In considering how policing may perpetuate inequality, we also welcome ethnographic inquiry into how policing is resisted, contested, and/or mediated as tensions emerge. By making strange regimes of social control operating through policing, we invite papers to respond to the following or related questions:

  • How does police activity promote, reinforce, and conceal existing forms of social difference, and in what ways can anthropologists respond?
  • How can policing estrange individuals, families, communities, and broad populations, and what are the related consequences?
  • What strategies do some communities develop to resist, combat, and cope with intense forms of policing?
  • What methodological and theoretical challenges are associated with studying policing, and who or what may be obstructive in ethnographies of police, policy, and power processes?
  • How does dialogue across subfields and disciplines aid or hinder our abilities to scrutinize police activity, and what findings can be gleaned through interdisciplinary collaboration?

Abstracts can be sent directly to Nolan Kline (nskline@mail.usf.edu) and Angela Stuesse (astuesse@usf.edu) by February 15, 2015.

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