Time to 05:00 pm Add to Calendar 2022-01-21 16:00:00 2022-01-21 17:00:00 Geography Coffee Hour Zoom Population Research Institute America/New_York public
Location Zoom
Presenter(s) Ben Jones, Assistant Director of the Rock Ethics Institute

The Genealogical Critique of Policing

Abstract: To challenge the legitimacy of policing today, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement looks to the past, developing what I call the genealogical critique of policing. This critique details often-ignored chapters in policing’s development—slave patrols, complicity in lynchings, vigorous enforcement of Jim Crow, and the criminalization of Blackness—with the goal of reframing recent police brutality against Black Americans as the latest in a long history of racial violence. My paper situates BLM’s critique within political theory’s genealogical tradition and shows how it unsettles widely held assumptions about the police. Specifically, the genealogical critique (1) uncovers aims of policing absent from standard justifications for it, (2) alters the moral meaning of current police failures, and (3) dispels reputational myths enjoyed by police. The paper closes by considering the complex relationship between genealogical critique and ideology in the context of current debates over policing.  

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