Fear the monster!

Racialised violence, sovereign power and the thin blue line

Authored by: Travis Linnemann , Corina Medley

The Routledge International Handbook on Fear of Crime

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138120334
eBook ISBN: 9781315651781
Adobe ISBN:


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In the United States, a spate of high profile killings beginning with Michael Brown in 2014, have mobilised a broad coalition against police violence. This action has brought about much needed attention to the increasingly prominent role of police in American social life, demonstrated for the first time the need for an accurate accounting of lives lost to the police and brought coercive practices such as “stop and frisk” under increased public scrutiny. While these and other victories have been won, they stand in sharp relief against a history of cyclical and facile police reform stretching back more than a century. In order to elaborate upon the failures of reform, we focus upon the mass-mediated fear of crime, theorising it not simply as propaganda or ideology, but rather as a technique and instrument of pacification. In doing so, we outline a dialectics of fear which arrests social change and obscures the horrific nature of everyday police violence and of the social order which it upholds.

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