The history of policing has been typically written through a conservative, liberal-progressive or instrumentalist Marxist lens. The insights of poststructuralism have been slow to penetrate our understanding of law enforcement history. This paper attempts to move towards a poststructuralist analysis of the rise of policing in the town of Eugene, Oregon (USA). It begins with an analysis of the relationship between policing and what Foucault has called carceral institutions (prisons, insane asylums, schools, reform schools, etc.). These institutions constitute disciplinary spaces. The bulk of the paper examines the manner in which police were involved in the management of social life outside of these disciplinary spaces. These attempts to discipline the non-disciplinary spaces formed an integral part of local government practice. Of central importance here was the deployment of governmental power through the construction, elaboration and circulation of disciplinary discourses. Police played a pivotal role here.
- Disciplinary discourses
- Policing history
- Power relations
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science