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This chapter addresses two related aspects of the imperial legacy in the global South: the weaponization of frontiers and territories and the imposition of ‘asymmetric’, alien and oppressive policing systems upon these same regions. The question as to whether all policing systems are asymmetric and ‘force reliant’ remains implicit. A particular focus, following Neocleous (2014), will centre upon perhaps the most egregious example of this form of empire policing, the ‘air policing’ strategy adopted in the ‘Middle East’, especially the 1920s doctrine of ‘police bombing’ thought to combine efficiency and humanity across wide tracts of ‘ungovernable space’, while anticipating the forceful public order maintenance and ‘pacification’ practices deployed towards the ‘end of empire’ and yet more recent tactics of drone governance. Excavating these often overlooked features of ‘police’ development, the chapter hopes to throw some (Southern) light upon a number of global dimensions of police force and its evolution.

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The idea of colonial violence eludes comprehensive conceptual definition because of its depth and complexity. Grappling with this violence remains a pressing challenge for those who have lived through it. This chapter represents an intervention by Chief Blaise Iruinu who discusses the Bougainville conflict (1988–1997), and the independence movement it precipitated. He locates the war in a social crisis that Iruinu traces back to 1886, when Indigenous social systems in Bougainville first became disrupted through formal annexation by European powers. This precipitated a process of social alienation and dependency subsequently accelerated by the emergence of a mining economy in the 1960s. Out of these contradictions emerged the seeds for major conflict Eventually the war-generated deprivation precipitated a renewal of Indigenous social systems providing a foundation for meaningful independence and justice, through which Bougainville can work in solidarity with the international community in challenging the harmful socio-ecological drives of global capitalism.

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This final chapter, a brief conclusion, draws together the core themes of the book, reiterating the main themes and reinforcing the ways in which the separate chapters contribute to the overriding themes of the work. The conclusion closes by suggesting a number of ‘pathways for future research’.

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Across 18 specially commissioned chapters this book draws together several emerging academic, theoretical and research-inspired concerns relating to ‘Southern perspectives’ in criminology and existing scholarship on colonialism and the decolonization of the criminological imagination. There are chapters on Southern and imperial legacies regarding policing, criminal justice and the law, penal systems and the abuse of human rights. These issues are discussed in relation to both new and old issues regarding racism, the ‘weaponization’ of the South, the neoliberal world order, criminalization processes and state violence, the suppression of political protest and exploitative economic relations contributing to environmental degradation and human insecurity. The chapters are written by both experienced and early career scholars working around the world including South and Central America and the Caribbean, Asia and Australasia. Case studies and materials covered include, police violence in South Africa, the privatization of military and security forces, war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the criminalization of environmental protest in South America, the policing of Black music and culture, riots and authority in Brazilian prisons, the negotiation of order and safety in poor communities and the emergence of a postcolonial feminist agenda for human rights.

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The criminalization of activists and social movements poses concrete challenges to the exercise of democratic rights and the manifestation of demands for social justice. This chapter aims to engage with a number of research questions relating to the forms of contemporary criminalization of activists in Latin America. Utilizing findings from qualitative research in Mexico, Brazil and Ecuador, the chapter explores how legislation and the criminal justice system have been used to quash dissent and criminalize activists. In particular, stigmatizing discourses and terminology referring to criminals, terrorists and communists have been used to delegitimize activists and justify the repression of social movements and protests. Paradoxically, there has also been an expansion of the number and range of protagonists responding to and resisting political turmoil. This chapter draws lessons from these new developments to expand our understanding of the structural and historical relationships between the state and civil society in postcolonial contexts.

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Sedition laws were crucial for imperial control in the mid-19th and 20th centuries, criminalizing political dissent and nationalism in British colonies. A century-and-a-half later, the laws continue to be applied to discipline and deter government critics. In Pakistan, the application of the law of sedition has intensified in reaction to civil society protests and social movements challenging state violence and injustices against marginalized communities. Although sedition has been approached in critical historical, legal and political scholarship on South Asia, we unpack how the threat and application of this law continues to shape the lived experiences of civilians impacted and rendered insecure as the postcolonial state seeks to pacify resistance to its authority and discipline dissidents. We develop existing understandings of how criminalization serves as a weapon for postcolonial states, where regimes have remained inherently insecure and regime insecurity becomes a lens through which such criminalization of activism and dissent may be understood.

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Brazil has a unique model for organizing police work between two separate and independent agencies. The investigation of crimes is carried out by the civilian police, while preventive and patrol policing are carried out by military police. This structure and organization, legacies of the military dictatorship (1964–1985), have not changed with the advent of democracy (1988). This chapter discusses this model of policing and its implications for Brazilian democracy. Using the concept of procedural justice developed by Tom Tyler (2003) to gauge democratic policing, we analyse the perceptions of police officers on democratic ways of exercising police authority. An important finding is that military police officers are less supportive of procedural justice policing than civilian police officers. This helps account for the persistence of undemocratic police forces in democratic countries in the global South and the impact of the militarization of police forces on political regimes that claim to be democratic.

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This chapter considers the violent legacies of empire, for imperialism (in its colonial and postcolonial forms) has been central to the political construction of ‘Southern-ness’. Military domination of Southern lands is frequently associated with a brutal violence exercised against Indigenous peoples, while in more recent times the task of domestic pacification has increasingly fallen to police agencies and their paramilitary partners. In this chapter a line is drawn between the history of imperial massacres, the police killings at Marikana mine, South Africa, and the war crimes and human rights abuses perpetrated by coalition troops during military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as the coalition forces pursued goals of regime change, peace-building and the reconstruction of domestic political order. Unfortunately, but perhaps predictably, the goals of neoliberal internationalism have been found seriously wanting as practised by military liberal interventionism, raising once again the myth and paradox of ‘liberal empire’.

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This chapter outlines the trajectory of Robson, a ‘community leader’ and wannabe ‘politician’ from Niterói, a municipality located in the Metropolitan Area of Rio de Janeiro. The chapter describes Robson’s efforts to become a legitimate representative of Palácio, enabled to ‘speak on behalf of the community’, intermediating with public and private agencies to improve the lives of their inhabitants. Robson’s efforts to become a favela politician, moving from being a community leader, illustrate the complex social processes implicated in the construction of Palácio as a ‘place’ (Bourdieu, 1997). In developing this analysis we explore relationships between violence, mobility and inequality, offering insights into the concept of ‘global South’ as a moving border, where the ambivalent coexistence between connection and separation produces zones of intense exchange and conflict promoting the ‘subaltern integration’ of Palácio in the cultural, political and economic life of the city of Niterói.

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This chapter develops a critical approach to the making of security and insecurity, employing insights from postcolonial and decolonial literature. Critical approaches have played a key role in expanding the frontiers of the concept of security through a critique of both methodological nationalism and nationalist methodology. However, by not detaching themselves from liberal reasoning such approaches end up endorsing a normative cosmopolitan individualism. In contrast, we explore the potential of the categories ‘empire’ and ‘imperialism’ to deepen a critical perspective in security studies. We suggest empires should not be analytically understood only by their formal political institutions, but also by the articulation they have historically produced between the colonial difference they establish and the accumulation by dispossession they enable. Colonial forms of expropriation have long constituted generative mechanisms of human insecurity, whose features are more distinguishable from a perspective of the global South.

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