The End of Policing

The end of policing as we’ve come to know it seems like a radical idea, but radical ideas are warranted when reform doesn’t work. As autopoietic systems, police departments will respond to any efforts to curb their growth; they will resist regulation from outside, preferring to use Internal Affairs divisions to investigate themselves, which is a bit of a joke. All autopoeitic systems prefer self-governance; this is what makes them autopoietic.

Strategies & Tactics

I call a “strategy” the calculus of force-relationships which becomes possible when a subject of will and power (a proprietor, an enterprise, a city, a scientific institution) can be isolated from an “environment.” A strategy assumes a place that can be circumscribed as proper (propre) and thus serve as the basis for generating relations with an exterior distinct from it (competitors, adversaries, “clienteles,” “targets,” or “objects” of research). I call a “tactic,” on the other hand, a calculus which cannot count on a “proper” (a spatial or institutional localization), nor thus on a borderline distinguishing the other as a visible totality. The place of the tactic belongs to the “other.”

More on Foucault, discipline, and the individual

At the heart of all disciplinary systems functions a small penal mechanism. It enjoys a kind of judicial privilege with its own laws, its specific offences, its particular forms of judgement. The disciplines established an ‘infra-penality’; they partitioned an area that the laws had left empty; they defined and repressed a mass of behaviour that the relative indifference of the great systems of punishment had allowed to escape. ‘ [. . .] The work­shop, the school, the army were subject to a whole micro-penality of time (latenesses, absences, interruptions of tasks), of activity (inattention, negligence, lack of zeal), of behaviour
(impoliteness, disobedience), of speech (idle chatter, insolence), of the body (‘incorrect’ attitudes, irregular gestures, lack of cleanliness), of sexuality (impurity, indecency).

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