Policing Protest

The Post-Democratic State and the Figure of Black Insurrection

Policing Protest

Global and Insurgent Legalities

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Book Pages: 368 Illustrations: 10 illustrations Published: August 2021

American Studies, Law, Politics > Political Theory

In Policing Protest Paul A. Passavant explores how the policing of protest in the United States has become increasingly hostile since the late 1990s, moving away from strategies that protect protesters toward militaristic practices designed to suppress protests. He identifies reactions to three interrelated crises that converged to institutionalize this new mode of policing: the political mobilization of marginalized social groups in the Civil Rights era that led to a perceived crisis of democracy, the urban fiscal crisis of the 1970s, and a crime crisis that was associated with protests and civil disobedience of the 1960s. As Passavant demonstrates, these reactions are all haunted by the figure of black insurrection, which continues to shape policing of protest and surveillance, notably in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Ultimately, Passavant argues, this trend of violent policing strategies against protesters is evidence of the emergence of a post-democratic state in the United States.


“This book affected me like a good shot of whiskey. Complex, bracing, needed.” — Lester K. Spence, author of Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics

“Although a lot has been written on policing of late, nothing that I have read takes up this important topic of protest policing, let alone gives it such a far-reaching and well-supported reading. The policing of protest turns out to be a distinctive but truly revealing piece of contemporary policing, one that no one has covered as comprehensively as this text.” — Jonathan Simon, author of Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Paul A. Passavant is Associate Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the author of No Escape: Freedom of Speech and the Paradox of Rights, and coeditor of Empire's New Clothes: Reading Hardt and Negri.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction. Policing Protest and the Post-Democratic State  1
1. Aesthetic Government: Neoliberal Authoritarianism and the Post-Democratic Right of Expression  25
2. New York's Mega-Event Security Legacy and the Postlegitmation State  62
3. Policing the Uprising: Occupy Wall Street and Order Maintenance Policing  98
4. Violent Appearances and Neoliberalisms's Disintegrated Political Subjects  141
5. Political Antagonisn: #BlackLivesMatter and the Postlegitimation, Post-Democratic State  184
Conclusion Policing Protest and Neoliberal Authoritarianism  239
Notes  253
Bibliography  315
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1143-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1045-6