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Recent articles by Deric Shannon
This author has not submitted any other articles.Recent Articles about International Imperialism / War
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Policing Dissent: Social Control and the Anti-globalization Movement
international | imperialism / war | review Wednesday September 09, 2009 13:51 by Deric Shannon - University of Connecticut
Review of the Luis Fernandez book
With this book anarchist sociologist, Luis Fernandez, writes on his studies of policing protests (broadly speaking). At first glance, the references and style of the book might make one think it is written for other academics–dispassionately studying the behaviors of our political masters and their domestic army, the police. A close read, however, makes it clear that Fernandez has fighters for social justice in mind, taking a critical approach to studying police and conceiving of policing processes broadly to demonstrate the ways that our ruling relations are protected in western “democracies”.
Policing Dissent begins by defining our terms and operationalizing the categories of analysis for this ethnographic study. Next, Fernandez gives a review of the existing literature on the control of dissent. Interestingly, here (and throughout the book) Fernandez shows some of the radical political uses of post-structuralists like Michel Foucault. Indeed, any volume on dissent would be remiss not to mention the ways that discipline, discourse, and regimes of knowledge are implicated in domesticating desire, including the desire to rebellion. This frees us from looking at power as only being located in specific institutions (such as the state, or capitalism), but also gives us ways to analyze productive power that disciplines us, often times in complex ways that are not reducible to capitalism and the state. This conceptualization of power is becoming much discussed in contemporary militant movements, as queer theory and other recent perspectives have taught us that sometimes hierarchies and oppressions develop out of the ways that we invent social categories and essential corresponding roles, attitudes, actions, etc.–in short, we create docile, disciplined, and domesticated bodies, both individually, but also, as Fernandez demonstrates, docile social bodies. This is something of concern to all people who hope for a radically different future and a revolutionary social body to carry out the task of bringing this future about.