Policing reality: Urban disorder, failure, and expert undoings

Machold, R. (2020) Policing reality: Urban disorder, failure, and expert undoings. International Political Sociology, 14(1), pp. 22-39. (doi: 10.1093/ips/olz027)

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This article intervenes in discussions about the circulation of policing knowledge and the politics of expertise. As part of a broader conversation about transnational reconfigurations of state power, critical scholars have drawn attention to the influence of global policing “models” and “private” experts in shaping policy. They show how such figures and forms of knowhow symbolically enforce urban order and dispossess marginalized communities under conditions of neoliberal crisis. While incisive, these approaches can unduly portray expert authority as boundless and unassailable. This article argues that a sustained theoretical engagement with questions about controversies and failure opens up fruitful avenues to unsettle the perceived smoothness, inevitability, and omnipotence of experts in relation to politics and governing. Drawing on insights from actor-network theory (ANT), it situates deference to global experts as interventions that seek to enact and police the terms of “reality” concerning urban order. This approach allows us to better understand how such interventions work but also how they misfire and come undone. These claims are developed through a close reading of UK Prime Minister David Cameron's attempt to solicit policy advice from renowned global “supercop” William Bratton in the aftermath of the 2011 England riots.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Machold, Dr Rhys
Authors: Machold, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:International Political Sociology
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1749-5687
Published Online:01 October 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Author
First Published:First published in International Political Sociology 14(1):22-39
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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