Deconstructing criminalization processes

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This article discusses some theoretical issues relating to recent trends in global policing. It puts forward the argument that the growth in the scale of anti-police and anti-government protests since 2019 is an intensification of the repercussions of the global crisis of political economy since the 2008 crash and subsequent austerity measures. The focus is developments in the United States and the United Kingdom, where states and their agents of social control have hitherto relied upon a relatively stable hegemony in terms of public tolerance of the government monopoly of violence as exercised on the streets. However, the police–public consensus is fragile and governing institutions are finding it increasingly difficult to accept it. The repressive security measures employed by state agents only partly explain the current fragility in public trust in the police. We must also consider the institutional inability to recognize the degree of reform required to reassure citizens that their public safety is guaranteed. I explore how criminalization processes are feeding back upon public authorities, creating double binds from which they are struggling to extricate themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-103
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • criminalization crimes of the powerful

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