No longer merely “good to think”: The new anthropology of police as a mode of critical thought
Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology
Images of police, punishment, and crime were central to the work of several of the key thinkers of the 20th century: the interpolative hail of the policeman for Althusser; the violence of the policeman in the shadow of law?s excess for Benjamin; the figure of the panopticon and, later, of police as the administration of man internal to the State for Foucault (to name just a few). Police, crime, and punishment were useful to consider a wide swath of issues including subjectivity, inequality, sovereignty, power, and text. If police have been such a productive tool through which to think, how does the emergence of anthropological research projects focused squarely on such practitioners stand to change that thought? Pushing this question more broadly, how does studying such subjects ?head on? reshape how we reflect on the larger issues in critical theory today? This collection of articles will attempt to address such questions through ethnographic accounts that interrogate the limits and alternative possibilities for thinking about police. In the process these articles will push us to reexamine the practices of policing at the heart of collective life in such a way that challenges not only our understanding of such critical theorists but also places critical police studies at the center of our understanding of what it means to be human today.
Link to Published Version
Karpiak, Kevin. (2016). No longer merely “good to think”: The new anthropology of police as a mode of critical thought. Theoretical Criminology, 20(4), 419–429. doi:10.1177/1362480616659807