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Most incidents of urban unrest in recent decades - including the riots in France, Britain and other Western countries - have followed lethal interactions between the youth and the police. Usually these take place in disadvantaged neighborhoods composed of working-class families of immigrant origin or belonging to ethnic minorities. These tragic events have received a great deal of media coverage, but we know very little about the everyday activities of urban policing that lie behind them.

Over the course of 15 months, at the time of the 2005 riots, Didier Fassin carried out an ethnographic study in one of the largest precincts in the Paris region, sharing the life of a police station and cruising with the patrols, in particular the dreaded anti-crime squads. Far from the imaginary worlds created by television series and action movies, he uncovers the ordinary aspects of law enforcement, characterized by inactivity and boredom, by eventless days and nights where minor infractions give rise to spectacular displays of force and where officers express doubts about the significance and value of their own jobs. Describing the invisible manifestations of violence and unrecognized forms of discrimination against minority youngsters, undocumented immigrants and Roma people, he analyses the conditions that make them possible and tolerable, including entrenched policies of segregation and stigmatization, economic marginalization and racial discrimination.

Richly documented and compellingly told, this unique account of contemporary urban policing shows that, instead of enforcing the law, the police are engaged in the task of enforcing an unequal social order in the name of public security.


"Enforcing Order is an intriguing read, not least for what it reveals about the politics of law and order, and of policing, in France in recent times"
Tim Newburn, LSE, LSE Review of Books
"Powerful, distressing and thought-provoking. The book is based on 15 months of fieldwork, an undertaking unprecedented in France and one that, as the difficulties of access Fassin encountered suggest, will not be conducted again for some time."
Times Higher Education
"Fassin's book - the most significant contribution to the public anthropology of policing - has opened up space to discuss the unresolved tension underlying the contemporary state, that between providing security and protecting human rights."
Social Anthropology
"Fassin has written a brilliant example of public anthropology. This ethnography of the anti-crime squads of the French police powerfully captures the institutionalization of racism and violence against poor youth and immigrants. His book must reach the widest possible audience because these paramilitaries operating out of sight of the general public with the complicity of politicians, career bureaucrats and the courts must be dismantled."
Philippe Bourgois, University of Pennsylvania
"This vivid description of the daily routines of police squads operating in under-privileged Parisian suburbs reinstates ethnography as a powerful tool for revealing how social exclusion works. By bringing to life, from the point of view of its officers, how the police consolidates social hierarchies, Fassin reminds us eloquently that the behavior of its police forces is the best index of the state of a democracy."
Philippe Descola, Collège de France
"A fascinating read - a brilliant, deep plunge into the lives, routines, racial tensions, sometimes violence, and intricate moral reasoning of the police officers in an anti-crime brigade in the French banlieues during a heated time of rioting in Paris. It blends a subtle analysis of the moral economy of the police with rigorous ethnographic detail and a genuine honesty or transparency on Didier Fassin's part. It is a very important contribution to our understanding of police practices in this new age of security."
Bernard Harcourt, University of Chicago


Autor Didier Fassin



GTIN 9780745664804

Veröffentlichungsdatum 06.09.2013

Sprache Englisch

Seitenanzahl 320

Produkttyp Taschenbuch

Größe 227 x 23 x 155  mm

Produktgewicht 472 g

Enforcing Order

An Ethnography of Urban Policing

Didier Fassin

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