policing / reading

the police are everywhere confronted

“Among the institutions that stamp their imprint on the daily life of the population and on the climate of ‘problem’ neighbourhoods, special attention must be afforded to the police. As the ‘frontline’ agency and frowning face of the state directly turned down towards precarious and marginal categories, the police are everywhere confronted with a deep crisis of legitimacy, mission and recruitment that the recent managerial turn can neither contain nor mask, since it finds its source in the overall re-configuration of the state, the erosion of the public monopoly over systems of surveillance and sanction of deviancy, and the broad diffusion of a feeling of social insecurity to which political leaders have chosen to respond with the all-out politicization of criminal insecurity, which sets off an upward spiralling of expectations that the forces of order cannot but betray at the end.”

– Loïc Wacquant, Urban outcasts: A comparative sociology of advanced marginality, 2008, Polity, p.12.

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