Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

The Politics of Expendability: Police Workers Unions as a National Security Threat

in partnership with South Asia Center and Department of Anthropology

Beatrice Jauregui
Associate Professor, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto
Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 10:00
A Virtual CASI Seminar via Zoom — 10:00am EDT | 7:30pm IST

About the Lecture:
Building on theorization of police in contemporary India as "expendable servants" (Jauregui 2016), this seminar analyzes government responses to attempts by police constables to express job-related grievances and establish employee unions. Drawing on ethnographic observations, interviews, and archival documents collected in Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi over fifteen years, the analysis demonstrates that for more than a century, class warfare within police organizations has manifested in counterinsurgency lawfare between senior officials and subordinate personnel regarding whether and how the latter may collectively organize to transform their living and working conditions. It further shows how, in this context, the law subjectifies rank and file police as an ironically exploitable class of laborers who are always already suspect of rebelling against the state that they have sworn to serve. Through revelations of a long history of structural servitude compelling subaltern police in South Asia to do questionably legal types of work, Professor Jauregui raises challenging questions about how police, as expendable workers, have been conceived and practiced globally, and how, moving forward, we must work to reimagine what police work is, can be, and ought to be in India and beyond.

About the Speaker:
Beatrice Jauregui is Associate Professor at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research is concerned with how the lived experiences and subjectivization of persons working in security institutions reflect and shape dynamics of social order and state power. Jauregui’s book, Provisional Authority (University of Chicago 2016), is an ethnography of everyday police practices in northern India. She is co-editor of Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency (University of Chicago 2010) and The Sage Handbook of Global Policing (Sage 2016), and author of numerous chapter contributions and research articles published in American Ethnologist, Asian Policing, Conflict and Society, Journal of South Asian Studies, Law and Social Inquiry, Public Culture, and Qualitative Sociology. Professor Jauregui is currently conducting research on global police unionism with a focus on concepts of police labor, welfare, citizenship, and concepts of social justice in contemporary India.