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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation argues that community policing--which police describe as a form of policing centered around the principles of partnership, prevention and problem solving--is an illusion which serves to legitimate the police without fundamentally changing the way police do their job. Community policing, I argue, is a logical extension and refinement of the basic technics of policing. This is evident in the ways that police hope to organize city residents into a policing body within which civilians serve as the eyes and ears of the police. It is evident also in the ways that police are dominating urban space. A second argument is that because of its emphasis on partnership, community policing contains within it a mechanism--unintended by its architects and unrecognized by police--by which communities can shape police practice even as police strive to shape, control and in some cases dissolve communities. Thus community policing is one such instance in which the very means by which a repressive agency of the state bureaucracy exercises its power can serve not only as a point of resistance to state projects but may even provide a mechanism for shoring up and reconstituting popular traditions--in this case, community. In Boston, civilians hope to use community policing as a means for capturing and thereby shaping police practice and for (re-)building neighborhood-based communities. My discussion draws upon twenty months of field experience in Boston where I interviewed community activists and engaged police and communities through intensive participant observation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Geography and Regional Development