WGST Lecture Series Speakers 2019-20

5 p.m., Monday, October 21 (Pray-Harrold 219)

Dr. Marilyn Corsianos (Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology and Women's and Gender Studies at EMU), "Constructing public policing: Risk discourse, hegemonic masculinity, and 'credible' actors"

With the increasing commodification and pluralizing of policing, governance and security are no longer monopolized by the state. In our postmodern consumer society, the private sector is transforming policing and security into products that can be sold in the marketplace, and corporations play an active role in governmentality.  The increasing reliance on private policing poses a threat to the public police over concerns that they will be left with order maintenance responsibilities, or even cease to exist.  As a result, for the public police, the pursuit to maintain organizational survival has become even more pressing in recent decades. This paper will provide an analysis of the public police efforts to engage in a constant management of appearances in their pursuit for organizational survival.  For one, there is the constant promotion of risk discourse. The public police play an active role in defining society as a "dangerous" place filled with "crime" and "criminals", and identifying "risky factors", which are overwhelmingly linked to class, 'race', gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and immigrant status are critical to the development of a specialized knowledge which is required to engineer the "need" for policing in its current form.  Moreover, the central role of hegemonic masculinity and the police as "credible" actors in "risk management" is rarely challenged.  The "technologies of governmentality" - the scripts, rituals, and technologies - deployed by the public police function to criminalize marginalized populations while at the same time operate to maintain and enforce the definitions of "risk" and "crime" of the powerful.

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