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CRIM 3655 (64)


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York University
CRIM 3655
James Sheptycki

CRIM 3655 – FALL LECTURE NOTES th October 8 , 2013 Policing and the Public - There is a number of important conceptual distinctions inherent in the typology of the policing field o Distinction between high and low policing o State security & secret service (Canadian version is CSE)  Spying in brazil for their mining  Blurring of lines between public policing (CSE) and private interests - You want to look at the entirety of the policing field when trying to answer what policing is o We generally mostly consider mostly patrolling officers, and less about private guards What is Policing? - Policing historically is about the art of governance – the linkage between policing and governance generally cannot be under-emphasized, otherwise you end up turning policing into mere law enforcement o This cannot happen because it is connected with entire politics of government - You are authorized to intervene - Core feature is ability to use coercive force - Involves surveillance o Aims to intervene against past wrongs or pre-empt future problems - Police agent has discretion in the use of the law and how to use the law - Fundamental distinction is the subculture of street cops and the subculture of management cops - Big city policing is performed in opposition to the dangerous class – those defined as potentially or actually “dangerous” o Think “fuck the police” picture o Tells us that 90% of what police officers do has nothing to do with crime control  It`s neighbour disputes, lost children, etc. - Relationship between police and public can be understood as an interactive problem in intercultural communication and it is not always the case that it results in conflict, and often it does because the nature of the police agents orientation is troubled o Officer`s perception and orientations are very often already expecting trouble because that`s their job - Example of the bad handling of situational exigency during communication between police officer and the old man from professor`s story of his walk in the neighbourhood when there was a man who seemed to be mentally instable. Police officer was too true to his working personality to handle the situation properly o Issue of working personality  Core to the whole idea of the occupational subculture of big city policing Crime and the Politics of Fear and Anxiety - Subcultural approach allows us to look at policing situations in a micro political way o Micro politics of everyday interactions are shaped in a substantial way by larger, social, cultural, economic forces o Chief issue is the climate of fear, culture of anxiety built around the problem of crime - The concept of fear of crime has not always been with us – it had to be invented o This concept wasn`t invented until 1968  For the first time became something measurable  Was invented for good political reasons – invented by academics working for the president, who created a task force for studying the crime force  He created this commission because in 1964 he had an opponent who wanted to be president and he wanted the republican nomination to be present. Person he was competing against for this nomination was one of the richest people in the world (rockefellar – a do-gooder, government is there to lift people up and foster general welfare of society). His opponent, Goldwater used crime as a key platform in his political ideology. In those years, it was a tumultuous time. In 1968, more than 100 cities had large scale rioting. Goldwater was against civil rights but didn`t want to seem like a racist – so he used the idea of crime to prevent certain situations without being deemed a racist. Fear being ramped up because of a drug epidemic, changing age profile of American society (baby boom – hardly surprising that the demographic of the younger individuals would spur a larger occurrence of crime), and public assassination of JFK and MLK. Nixon using trope of crime in 1968 to get publicity – clever way of being racist.  Crime trope fused fears about blacks, hippies, out of control people, into a singular ideological trope  Made bashing the above people and immigrants allowable o Feedback Loop: widely felt social sense of anxiety. Some politicians use a rhetorical trick to translate these anxieties into a concrete fear – the fear of crime. Political tactic to gain electoral office. Created a social reaction in the public at large. People develop a heightened awareness about crime and insecurity, and the more aware you are, the more that you see – our perceptions change  Increase amount of general anxiety, which encourages political rhetoric – crisis is reproduced at higher and higher levels o Politics of fear and anxiety shape background cultural assumptions, not only with general public but within people who are tasked to do something about it (front-line police officers, lawyers, etc.)  Historical development is important because at one time it was possible to talk about crime in Toronto without this heated sense of anxiety that we bring to discussion now The Community and the Police - The community is undifferentiated – it`s one thing - The police are seen as a monolithic institution – most of the time people don’t make distinction between street cops and management cop – they’re all behind thin blue line - Police are in but not of the community - Understood to cover most of the policing field, insofar as the policing field produces problems of crime and insecurity, police are expected to be the solution - However, all that is policing does not lie solely within the jurisdiction of the police - However, model of crime control turns this issue within agents of control o This way of thinking about the community and the police has limitation - The social system model begins with the suggestion that relationship between communities (plural) and policing activities occur within a broader social system o Acknowledges all preconceptions that make up the social system as a whole is an active set of background factors, which are neither one phenomenon (communities) or the other (policing), and that our understanding of the relationship between police and public cannot be reduced to monumental undifferentiated holes - Model attempts to give social location of different communities – the class structure - Upper part deals with upper class and lower part consists of communities who are in lower classes o Acknowledging that communities have a class location, but it is bisected vertically along with horizontally, that just because you have a class location does not mean you have
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