1: Introduction: Southern and Postcolonial Perspectives on Policing, Security and Social Order

The chapter introduces the volume, sketches the broad outlines of the 16 substantive chapters which follow and sets out the issues and concerns which underpin the approach taken by the collection. The discussion engages, albeit briefly, with the work of a range of Southern and postcolonial commentators who have drawn attention to Southern differences and the postcolonial intersectionalities of race, gender and class. The chapter also introduces the notion of ‘boomerang’ (or ‘blowback’) effects as violence and forms of criminalization and securitization, which were first deployed by imperial nations across their empires, find their way back home and into in the modern governance systems of Northern neoliberal societies. At the same time, processes of transnational governance, even disarmament, peace and human rights initiatives, replicate the many of imperial relations they were meant to ameliorate or replace.

Southern perspectives in criminology: an agenda

Several chapters that make up a large part of this book began life as papers presented at a ‘Southern Perspectives’ one-day research seminar at the University of Brighton in the early summer of 2019. The purpose of the day was to draw together several academic/theoretical research and network connections to explore a range of emerging concerns relating to ‘Southern Perspectives’ in criminology and existing scholarship on colonialism and the decolonization of the criminological imagination – or, in Agozino’s terms – developing a critique of ‘imperialist reason’ (Agozino, 2003).

In pursuing this agenda, the distance we might have to travel from the familiar assumptions of academic criminology was, at this early stage, less than absolutely clear to us, but we were hopeful and keen to explore. In any event, Carrington et al’s remarkably concise, but wonderfully coherent and challenging, introduction to Southern Criminology (2019) had recently appeared – preceded by the enormous, free-ranging Palgrave Handbook of Criminology and the Global South (Carrington et al, 2018). These texts convinced us of the viability of criminology, a ‘rendezvous discipline’ like no other, as an appropriate vehicle for these developing enquiries. As such, the present volume builds on established and growing efforts to examine the ongoing legacies of colonialism on institutions of control and practices of ordering (Agozino, 2003; Aliverti et al, 2021). This is a book looking to facilitate dialogue between multiple critical and interdisciplinary perspectives, in particular Southern and postcolonial perspectives, through collaborations between activists, academics and intellectuals across the globe. Some years ago, Jock Young had likewise remarked that the ‘very liveliness of criminology and, at its best, its intellectual interest’ derived its place from the busy crossroads of social theory, concerned especially with order and regulation, political economy, and the state (Young, 2003: 97). Given our current concerns with postcolonial legacies, policing and violence, and the distinctive, frequently racialized, character of (in)security, (in)justice and (dis)order in Southern contexts, these seem like indispensable themes. For, as Carrington et al have noted:

[C]rime problems in the Global North … generally pale in scale and significance alongside the violence (including armed conflicts, military coups and grave human rights abuses) and other crimes that seriously threaten human security in many Global South countries … the countries with the highest rates of homicide, violence against women, corruption and drug trafficking in the world are located in the South … [while] a large proportion of the world’s police and half the world’s 10.2 million prisoners are also to be found in the South. (Carrington et al, 2019: 2)

Of course, in situating our project, it is important to be clear that any reference to ‘the global South’ or ‘Southern perspective’ is far more than a simple geographical descriptor. On the contrary, the idea of ‘Southern-ness’ is intended to refer both to a dynamic relationship and a social division. The division concerns the way in which ‘Southern-ness’ defines a distinct space – or series of spaces. Here, key assumptions regarding the nature of order, the role and capacity of the state and political authorities, the purpose of law, the nature and infrastructure of security, the formation of ‘civil society’ (and the norms, relations and values found there), and the character of ‘justice’, rest upon foundations often quite different than those prevailing in the ‘North’. To take a specific example relevant to our present project, the role, character and functions of the police in many Southern or postcolonial areas (Cole, 1999; Thomas, 2012; Owen, 2016), despite later convergences and the now widespread practice of international policy transfer, can still reveal significant differences, deriving from their imperial histories, in comparison with the police in many Northern jurisdictions. Taking up these themes, Watson, Pino and Harry (Chapter 6, this volume), describe the difficulties entailed in reforming a postcolonial policing system in Trinidad and Tobago, noting especially the problems of policy transfer in a still resistant policing culture. Cubas, Branco and Oliveira (Chapter 7, this volume) raise similar questions in respect of the dual (civil and military) policing systems in Brazil and, in particular, the potential of a model of police ‘due process’ to act as a catalyst for police reform. However, the distance to be travelled here, as regards police reform, is starkly depicted in Evans et al’s work, Equal Subjects, Unequal Rights (2003), wherein the primary purpose asserted for a law to govern the dispossessed Indigenous peoples of the colonies was boldly stated as to ‘deter them from attacking colonists’, and for that reason, martial law and a brutal summary justice exercised by local police were especially recommended (Evans, 2005: 57). Many of the chapters in this volume explore similar contrasting perceptions of values and practices (order making, justice and due process, rights and liberties, and notions of security) that differentiate the ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ experiences. In this light, Dal Santo (Chapter 9, this volume) explores the applicability of a ‘political economy of punishment’ explanatory framework to account for the particular shape and functioning of Brazilian penal policy, and the role and nature of prisons and penal discipline.

Sustaining legacies

Already, in accounting for such differences and the divisions upon which they were based, the vital dynamic producing and sustaining the legacies of North and South is emphatically revealed: imperial conquest followed by political subordination, economic exploitation, juridical subjection, racial discrimination and persecution, and, on some occasions, genocidal annihilation (Gott, 2011). In this way the ‘South’ is constituted as the space where these multiple imperial and colonizing practices were played out and where the abused, marginalized and dispossessed were construed as inferior ‘races’. And there began the process of economic underdevelopment (Frank, 1966; Rodney, 2018 [1972]) by which kleptocratic Northern states and corporations both enslaved and later indentured and transported Indigenous workforces to serve a range of Northern commercial interests (Williams, 2021 [1944]). As Carrington et al remark, ‘being “under-developed” or economically backward was not the normal or natural condition of countries so labelled, but commonly a consequence of their subordinate place in the global economic and political order’ (2019: 4). Northern/European colonist settlers dispossessed Indigenous people of their historic homelands (often relocating them to reservations and work camps – or simple banishment), ravaged their flora and fauna (creating plantations, ranches and cash crops in their place) and extracted raw materials (Lasslett and McManus, 2018; Williams 2021 [1944]). Later, Southern lands became (legal and illegal) dumping destinations for global waste, hazardous products and processes (Pearce and Tombs, 1998; Lasslett, 2017). Indigenous peoples who protested or resisted these infractions were in turn harassed, killed or criminalized. Chapters in this volume by Benzaquen and Borba (Chapter 15), and Cavalcanti, Celi and Gomes (Chapter 14), detail several contemporary aspects – struggles around mineral extraction, deforestation and the commercialization of agriculture, and the criminalization of protest – of these historical realities of Southern experience. Similarly, in a highly original contribution curated by Lasslett (Chapter 10), Chief Blaise Iruinu from Bougainville, a respected tribal elder, activist and knowledge custodian, narrates an Indigenous experience of cultural disruption associated with colonization that led to alienation, impoverishment and marginalization for Indigenous peoples. From the 1960s, a commercial mining development further dispossessed people of traditional landholdings, culminating in a conflict in which some 20,000 people were killed, although, in turn, this laid the foundations of an independence movement capable of breaking free from colonial legacies. Iruinu’s account reiterates the argument that ‘the reasons that a certain story matters to a specific people are themselves historical’ (Trouillot, 1995: 13). Such narratives draw essential cultural connections with the past, ‘reinterpreting what it is to be human’ (Satia, 2020) in the face of oppression and ideological conditioning. Iruinu and Lasslett’s chapter in this collection is a recognition of the many subjugated Southern and Indigenous narratives that have been lost, forgotten or which remain still yet undiscovered.

It is precisely the experience of marginalization and persecution which leads Cunneen and Tauri (2017) to insist that any Southern or postcolonial criminology should position the construction of indigeneity at its centre. This would include localized intersectional hierarchies and identities of rural/urban, class, race, religion, gender and sexuality, including the consequences of imperialism for each. In this regard, West (2003) narrates an astonishing account of the gender-targeted tax collection practices developed in colonial Mozambique in the 1890s. The Portuguese authorities had effectively subcontracted tax collection to a private company who administered a ‘hut tax’ (essentially the same as that established by the British in Kenya [Elkins, 2005]). However, when news of the impending arrival of the tax collectors reached the villagers, the men would abscond. Frustrated by the disappearance of the men, the company changed tactics, now targeting the women as tax subjects. They began kidnapping the women, taking them to jails where they were held until their tax/ransoms were paid. ‘Captive women were forced to work, until ransomed, were often denied sufficient food, and were sometimes beaten and/or raped. One report indicated two or three deaths per day of women held at a particular company post’ (West, 2003: 99). Women who had been paid for were given tokens to prove that payment had been made, so that they would not be taken again – at least until the next taxes were due.

Dynamics of ‘dependency-producing and dependency-experiencing’, the combined legacies of global capitalism, neoliberal imperialism and coercive policy transfer, remain vital to contemporary Southern and postcolonial perspectives. Drawing out these kinds of issues in a concrete case study in this volume, Albernaz (Chapter 11) depicts the cross-cutting solidarities, alliances, divisions and tensions impacting the life and work of a community activist/entrepreneur in a marginalized urban favela in Rio de Janeiro. Her illustration reveals how governmental actions can frustrate rather than promote the establishment of welfare, social justice and order. These are certainly not issues exclusive to the global South, but the favela context represents such divisions as especially stark contrasted realities.

So much of the rhetoric of empire, the accumulated common sense of imperialism, has internalized many of the fabricated ‘truths’ of colonialism including, for example, the imputed character and behavioural traits of various subjugated peoples as ‘savage’, ‘lazy’, ‘untrustworthy’ or ‘violent’ (Gilroy, 1982; Nigam, 1990; Kumar, 2018; Carrington et al, 2019: 18–19) although sometimes also ‘intelligent’ (but often translated as ‘calculating’). In so doing, the importance of context and social determinism in the shaping of adaptive and coping behaviours was entirely overlooked, somewhat akin to blaming the victim. Connell (2007) has shown how such selective misunderstandings of race and difference, now elevated to the level of science, reinforced a modernist metropolitan racism at precisely the time that social science was first taking recognizable shape. For our particular purposes, this was when criminology, allied with anthropology and eugenics, was positing the existence of a savage and atavistic ‘criminal man’ (Pasquino, 1980), doomed to supposed extinction in the face of ‘progress’, although there were undoubtedly many European imperialists and frontier settlers happy to assist the process (Lindqvist, 1997; Wolfe, 2006). Furthermore, while criminology looked southwards to describe a savage, uncivilized criminality to be found in that hemisphere for many years, it largely overlooked ‘the use of violence as a tool of states and nation-building and its role in war, conquest and colonisation’ (Carrington et al, 2019: 21). When developing our critique of these ideological formulations it is important, as Trouillot (1995) has noted, to write against the prevailing discourses of power. In the 18th century, he notes:

Colonization provided the most potent impetus for the transformation of European ethnocentrism into scientific racism … the more European merchants and mercenaries bought and conquered other men and women, the more European philosophers wrote and talked about Man … [yet] non-European groups were forced to enter various philosophical, ideological, and practical schemes … ultimately some humans were more so than others. … Blacks were inferior and therefore enslaved; black slaves behaved badly and were therefore inferior. In short, the practice of slavery in the Americas secured the blacks’ position at the bottom of the human world … culturally destined to be slaves. (Trouillot, 1995: 75–77)

Further compounding the transnational inequality that is such a potent legacy of Europe’s history of imperialism and more contemporary neoliberal globalization are yet further examples of the Southern legacy of postcolonial disruption and conflict. War (and weaponization), political and economic insecurity (poverty), religious persecution and strife, as well as rising sea levels, drought and land degradation, resulting from climate change, have mobilized many hundreds of thousands of new refugees and asylum seekers exiting Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America,1 seeking new hope in the global North (McAdam, 2012; Welzer, 2012). Their reception, either in refugee relief camps run by international aid agencies, or confronting the reluctant, discriminatingly litigious and ‘hostile’ immigration environments of ‘fortress’ destination countries (Goodfellow, 2019) and their Immigration Removal Centres (their naming already predicated on the assumption of ‘removal’), both echo and reinforce a divisive racism (Anderson, 2013). They add a new layer to the dependency/racial vilification dynamic we have already alluded to. The work of police, security and borders agency institutions – agents or contractors of the state – routinely, sometimes violently, reinforcing postcolonial boundaries, are still diligently performing the legacy work of empire (Aliverti, 2013; Elliott-Cooper, 2021; Trafford, 2021).

Welzer (2012) makes the point that climate change, in and of itself, may not always be sufficient to mobilize widespread migration. Invariably climate change catalyses other regional tensions and localized resentments, conflicts and divisions, destabilizing economic relationships and social orders, fomenting protest, corrupting states and weakening the rule of law as elites (both governments and corporations) increasingly come to disrespect the due processes that sustain democracy (persecuting trade unions, restricting rights to protest, weakening protections for accused persons and ‘unleashing’ the police, disrupting electoral procedures, cultivating hostilities). Civil wars, a major producer of refugees, can result. Many conditions can trigger a civil war, but a plentiful supply of weapons and ammunition (through licit and illicit channels) can both exacerbate and prolong the killing (Greene and Marsh, 2012). It follows that attempting to intercept, disrupt and prevent illegal weapon trafficking to ‘outlaw’ states and non-state groups (militia, insurgencies, terror cells and organized criminal networks) is a major priority of international law enforcement agencies including the United Nations (UN) (Squires, 2014, 2022). The Arms Trade Treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013 has been a significant vehicle for that ambition.

Later European imperial centres tended to look upon Southern and colonial societies and their compromised political regimes with a patronisingly superior mixture of avarice, contempt and irritation, carefully balancing ‘settler economic interests’, a measure of administrative legitimacy, with an effective hegemony, even ‘winning hearts and minds’ (Weiner, 2009). Earlier empires had been rather less discerning. These were lands, and peoples, for conquest and exploitation. Governance arrived by gunboat and was violently imposed by whip and rifle butt, the mundane regularity of everyday colonial violence (Fanon, 2005 [1963]; Muschalek, 2019), for these ‘uncivilized and inferior savages’ could, it was implied, appreciate nothing else. There were many manifestations of resistance to these logics, not least the struggles for decolonization. As Fanon wrote:

Decolonization is the encounter between two congenially antagonistic forces that in fact owe their singularity to the kind of reification secreted and nurtured by the colonial situation. Their first confrontation was colored by violence and their cohabitation – or rather the exploitation of the colonized by the colonizer – continued at the point of the bayonet and under cannon fire. … Decolonization is truly the creation of new men. … Decolonization … implies the urgent need to challenge the colonial situation. (Fanon, 2005 [1963]: 2)

Koram (2022) narrates an account of how in 1920 – significantly, only a year following the Amritsar massacre in India – delegates of the National Congress of British West Africa arrived in London to press for legal and political emancipation. Although things appeared to be progressing well initially, they were soon met with increasing political resistance. Lloyd George refused to meet with them and the final blow to their ambitions came from colonial governors in Nigeria and the Gold Coast. They warned the government ‘not [to] take these over-educated elites, dressed up in the clothes and vocabulary of English gentlemen as representative of the West African masses. Real Africans, they insisted, were primitive, fiercely tribal, and nowhere near ready to handle the modern pressures of statecraft’ (Koram, 2022: 21). In the event, Churchill determined that there was ‘no prospect’ of African self-government any time soon. The matter was closed.

Yet just as dispossessed peoples were criticized for their own ‘backwardness’ and lack of ‘civilization’, so ‘failed’ and ‘failing’ states (militarily destabilized, politically dominated, economically exploited) were likewise castigated for their own ‘failure’. Unable to exercise competent governance, secure their own borders, uphold the law, or keep the peace, or – tellingly – regulate the supply of military hardware (small arms and light weapons), such states became prone to coercive policy interventions, sanctions, arms and trade embargoes intended to police their own failing governance. Anna Stavrianakis (discussed in the chapter by Squires, Chapter 2, this volume) suggests this is why international arms control efforts can represent the latest version of imperialist reason, or global neoliberalism. She argues that arms control itself ‘contributes to the reproduction of imperial relations’ while the problems of armed conflict, interethnic division, corruption and organized crime are perceived to be strictly internal to Southern states (rooted in their failure to establish a monopoly of legitimate violence, in the classic Westphalian mode of statecraft). Defining the problem in this fashion leaves contemporary Northern imperial influences, colonial legacies and the global relations of armed violence (the arms trade itself, still dominated by Northern and European states) conspicuous by their absence (Stavrianakis, 2011: 195, 205).

‘Boomerang effects’

In the global neoliberal order, failed states are ‘bad states’ which need to be policed, order restored, authority re-established, and consent – well, maybe consent – and the rule of law can wait. Analysing recent counterinsurgency doctrine and the activities of international partners fighting the ‘war on terror’ after 9/11, Caroline Holmqvist argues that recent liberal interventionism has collapsed a distinction between war and policing (Holmqvist, 2014). While some of the chapters in this volume might take issue with some aspects of this characterization, there is a substantial historical literature on the conflation of military force and policing activities within the realm of empire (Elkins, 2005; Newsinger, 2006; Gott, 2011; Thomas, 2012; Walter, 2017; Dwyer and Nettelbeck, 2018). The assessment rests in part upon contrasts between the ‘formal’ and ‘linear’ large-scale European wars of the 18th–20th centuries, where troops fought in regular regimental ranks or squares, line-abreast and later in trenches, firing coordinated volleys and advancing (although not retreating) in parade-ground order. This way of fighting contrasts markedly with the irregular, asymmetric, ‘risk-transfer’, ‘new’ insurgent or ‘policing wars’ of the later 20th century and beyond (Kaldor, 1999; Shaw, 2005) which, as Lea (Chapter 16, this volume) shows, now rely extensively upon private military companies in all aspects of battle logistics, except actual fighting (although sometimes, often covertly, that too). And yet, as Walter (2017) clearly demonstrates, there was nothing quite so asymmetric as the old colonial wars (modern firepower versus tribal weapons, with predictably disproportionate casualty rates) and often mercenaries of various kinds were centrally involved. And yet, in the guerrilla insurgencies, suicide bombings, ambush tactics, and improvised explosive devices of recent conflicts, we have a colonial violence ‘boomerang effect’ like no other. Even the low-tech ‘terrorist knife attacks’ of recent times have their colonial precedent in the ‘amok killers’ of colonial Malaya, which contemporary authorities viewed as the result of weak and primitive masculine ‘natures’ exercising an indiscriminate, impotent and frustrated, undercivilized violence (Wu, 2018).

Koram (2022) draws upon Cesaire’s colonial ‘boomerang effect’ in which ‘all experiments carried out in the peripheries of the empire eventually come flying back to its very heartland’ (2022: 5). This idea entails several dimensions. In the first place, the re-importation of policing techniques originally deployed in overseas trouble-spots around the empire, for example the practices of surveillance, public order management, interrogation and internment deployed in Kenya in the 1950s (Elkins, 2005), found ready application in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s, some of which, as described by Hillyard in ‘From Belfast to Britain’ (1981) and Suspect Community (1993), eventually found their way into mainland policing practices. Lambros Fatsis (Chapter 3, this volume) describes similar efforts at cultural and musical suppression in Afro-diasporic communities now being employed to close Black music venues and prevent ‘drill’ music performances. Another version of the effect, termed ‘blowback’ in arms control circles, refers to the way that weapons, originally manufactured in Northern and European factories, from whence they are exported around the world before, in due course, make their way, albeit illicitly, back home to arm gangs and organized criminal groups (Squires, 2014: 237, 244). The boomerang effect is also reflected in patterns of immigration – we are here because you were there – prompting destination countries to resurrect, at home, the discriminatory orders that prevailed abroad. In this sense, as both Trafford (2021) and Sanghera (2021), in their own ways relate, Empireland comes home too.

And finally, the boomerang effect turns full circle when modern postcolonial armies are required to fight modern insurgencies that bear striking resemblance to the ‘small wars’ (Callwell, 1996 [1896]) fought by their predecessors in the period of imperial conquest many years earlier. The context is still empire, but everything has changed, not least a strong preference to see these new wars for democracy, or ‘regime change’ – wars to create order – as primarily ‘policing operations’ or ‘peacekeeping’ exercises (Holmqvist, 2014). In Holmqvist’s case the notion of ‘policing war’ serves as a narrative of legitimation, reiterating that both the ends for which the war is fought are themselves just and that the conduct of military intervention (fighting) corresponds to the rules of war, the international neoliberal order, for example, the Geneva Conventions. In her analysis, the thinking about war has changed ‘as a result of the ideological quests of liberal interventionism and liberal internationalism’ (2014: 3).

For Neocleous (2014), by contrast, taking inspiration from Foucault’s depiction of liberal modernity founded upon a ‘military dream of society’ (Foucault, 1977: 169), both war and policing are already closely intertwined ‘as processes working in conjunction as state power’ (Neocleous, 2014: 13, emphasis in original). The goals of such processes are revealed as security, order and accumulation. Here, Neocleous connects his earlier analysis of the origins of ‘policing’ in The Fabrication of Social Order (2000) with the wider imperatives of colonial accumulation and global pacification which at first produced and now sustain neoliberal internationalism. While domestic policing confronts the enduring internal ‘enemies of order’, an external police power, in constant search of new opportunities for accumulation, similarly confronts the permanent global enemies of international order. In this way, Neocleous offers a reinterpretation, consistent with much recent revisionist historiography of both empire-building and imperial policing, of ‘Empire’ as a form of war power and of capitalism as violence. He continues by insisting that ‘far from outlawing violence, liberalism seeks to regulate it and see that it is exercised for just reasons, offering an argument not against war, but for war conducted in the right manner and the right reasons’ (Neocleous, 2014: 42, emphasis in original). And, we might add, against the right persons, associations or states. It follows that ‘the history of liberal thought needs to be read in terms of the history of capitalist violence’ (Neocleous, 2014: 45), while liberal empire’s presumed greatest achievement, international law, although disguised as a means to ‘peace and security, law and order – even civilisation’, a commitment to ending violence and oppression, is nothing more than ‘international war in action’ (Neocleous, 2014: 46). In these respects, the contemporary rule of neoliberal internationalism follows closely in the paradoxical footsteps of its European and Northern forerunners, exploiting and killing, obscuring and colluding, all beneath an ideological veneer of justice, civilization and peace, although seeking ‘hearts and minds’ once again. Where once the enemies may have been Indigenous peoples, nomadic tribes and peasants, today such groups are joined by ‘rogue states’, protestors, dissenters and resisters, insurgents and terrorists, militias and cartels. And in this ‘new world order’ as Carrington et al (2019: 13) remark, remnants of older empires return in new roles and forms. Carrington et al refer specifically to the role of British overseas territories now serving as tax havens, but one might also refer to contemporary practices of incarceration rendition and interrogation, the tactics of gang surveillance and disruption (Nijjar, 2018), the selectivity applied to immigration/refugee status and the differing rights accruing thereto (Aliverti, 2013), and even the policing of the pandemic (Fatsis and Lamb, 2022) and protest movements (Jan and Waseem, Chapter 5, this volume; Cunneen, Chapter 4, this volume).

With specific reference to constructions of gender and ethnicity one might cite the deplorable practice of ‘virginity testing’ of would-be immigrant South Asian women (Smith and Marmo, 2011) in the 1970s, a scrutiny reflecting a wide range of intersecting subordinations of gender, race, identity, class, identity and labour market value. As Carrington et al remark, ‘gendered violence … is a much bigger problem in the global South’ (2019: 39), with commentators addressing intimate partner violence, femicide, rape, honour killings, emotional abuse and coercive control, sexual trafficking, female infanticide and genital mutilation (DeKeseredy and Hall-Sanchez, 2018; Miedema and Fulu, 2018). As DeKeseredy and Hall-Sanchez note, however, recognizing the disproportionate concentration of violence against women in the global South is not to pathologize the region or its inhabitants, nor to minimize the victimization faced by women in Northern developed cultures; rather, it is to recognize the importance of contexts: rural living, poverty, a lack of support services or alternative opportunities, asymmetrical gender relations and ‘traditional’ value systems (2018: 885). And as Giovana Zucatto describes in this volume (Chapter 13), women from the global South have organized for many years to press for change and an emancipatory feminist politics that recognizes the specific nature of the legacies of a colonial patriarchy.

Yet even culturally significant killings recycle tensions powerfully inflected by Southern and postcolonial racial divisions. The three examples which follow all represent what Carrington et al (2019: 12) refer to as illustrations of ‘the South in the North’ or what we have also referred to as the ‘boomerang effect’ or cultural ‘blowback’ in which ideas, practices and values taking their first shape in a Southern colonial context migrate to the urban metropolitan north. Here one might cite both the judgement of ‘institutional racism’ imposed upon the Metropolitan Police in 1999 as well as the self-justificatory ‘explanations’ offered by officers for their apparent investigative failures (Foster, 2008). In a first case, the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012, by an ‘armed citizen’ protected by the state’s ‘stand your ground’ law, a delegated racialized power to kill with impunity (Gray et al, 2014), which symbolically energized the #BlackLivesMatter movement and showed how legacies of racism, fear and mistrust persist. In this volume, Cunneen (Chapter 4) takes up the account of how the #BLM protests fed into a broader global challenge, often rooted in Southern experiences, regarding discriminatory police use of force against Black and/or Indigenous peoples, including police killings of Aboriginal people in Australia, police shootings in the United States and violence and extrajudicial killings and excessive use of police force in Kenya and Nigeria. In India, Belur (2010) and Jauregui (2016) have similarly described how armed police ‘encounters’, or a form of extrajudicial ambush killings observed across South Asia, have existed in a cultural landscape bordered by denial, tolerance and impunity, defining a particularly robust approach to policing gangs and organized crime with rather familiar colonial antecedents. In respect of Brazil, Chevigny (1995) and Willis (2015) relate similarly ‘exceptional’ policing practices.

In a second case, Razack (2020) has explored the 2014 killing of a 27-year-old Navajo woman by a White police officer following a suspected offence of shoplifting in Winslow, Arizona. She argues that both the shooting itself, and the way that it is narrated in official and media accounts, as a ‘justifiable use of force’ (emphasis added), reveal and recycle the

psychic and material underpinnings of a settler state … that continually imagines itself as a community of whites imperilled by Indians. … White settler violence directed at those imagined as threats lives just beneath the surface of everyday life, and flows through institutions such as policing, embedding itself in everyday professional routines. (Razack, 2020: 1)

In similar fashion Stevenson’s detailed account in the Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins (2013) excavates the class and ethnic tensions entailed when a Korean shopkeeper shot and killed a 15-year-old African-American girl in Los Angeles in 1991, importantly prefiguring the patterns of urban conflict reflected in the following year’s LA riots as African-American rioters targeted Korean-owned businesses. Other writers have developed conceptions of aggressive and hostile ‘frontier’ or ‘Southern masculinity’ emboldened by weapon ownership (Farr et al, 2009) and gendered oppression reflected especially in rates of intimate violence, rape and femicide in northern Mexico and South Africa (Olivera, 2006; Staudt, 2008; Abrahams et al, 2012).

The scale and resilience of contemporary criminal, terrorist or insurgent groupings has certainly facilitated the discursive slippage from policing to warfare (Steinert, 2003). Northern ‘policing wars’ are rhetorically waged on ‘crime’, on drugs, even on ‘poverty’ and, most recently, on ‘terror’. Policing – and societies themselves – are said to have become increasingly militarized (Kraska, 2001; Balko, 2014), criminal justice agencies subsumed within the wider goals of social and political security and economic ordering. And yet in many Southern jurisdictions, dual policing systems comprising civil and state or military police (as in Brazil, Mexico and Pakistan) continue to perform differentiated crime control and security functions, while differentiations between ‘high’ and ‘low’ policing undertake similar responsibilities on a more global scale (Andreas and Nadelmann, 2006: 61). Low policing addresses everyday violence and criminality, and as Carrington et al (2019) make clear, the Global South has more than its fair share:

[A]lmost all, (42 out of 43) of the countries ranked by the WHO as having the highest rates of death by violence in the world are in the global South [and] … of the 50 most violent cities in the world, 46 are in the global South [furthermore] … the distribution of violence, especially lethal violence, is highly racialised in the world today. (Carrington et al, 2019: 34–35)

By contrast, high policing engages with more elevated security risks including threats to the political and economic order, and to states (such as from terrorism and insurgencies). Neocleous (2014) has noted the tendency of commentators to refer to the increasing paramilitarization of policing without acknowledging the profound militarism of high policing, its evident departure from familiar notions of accountability, just as military interventions have tended to cloak themselves in a narrative of ‘peace-building’, ‘regime change’ and security governance (Holmqvist, 2014) – or, as Neocleous would put it, war for international order, or violence for peace and prosperity. In such contexts Neocleous (2016) depicts various ‘universal adversaries’ against which we might pit our forces; George W. Bush was undoubtedly targeting terrorists in his post-9/11 ‘war on terror’ announcement, but the neoliberal imagination construes many others, from the trade union ‘enemies within’, to protesters and resisters of all kinds, ‘enemies of progress’ or of property rights. The line runs from the victims (or survivors) of empires, slavery or genocide, those caught up in the surrogate conflicts of the Cold War (Grandin, 2011), many of them originally located in the South, to those still trapped in their contemporary legacies of race, gender and class, many of them of the South, even if no longer resident there: refugees, migrants, disenfranchised guest workers, the poor. Studying police violence in Guyana, Mars (2002: xiv) argues that the issue ‘cannot be adequately addressed without an understanding of the enduring legacy of colonialism and its role in the definition of the police function’. Similarly, discussing the ongoing persecution and criminalization of Indigenous and Black land activists in Honduras, Loperena (2017: 801) points to a ‘lack of political will to resolve long-standing issues of racial inequality … because it is important to understand the [contemporary] development model as a continuation and expansion of economic practices from earlier historical periods’. To these examples we might add the failure to address inequalities of class and gender, of poverty, disease and climate change, in the face of which, especially in the postcolonial South, policing, security and the forces of political and economic order too often stand as reinforcements to social exclusion rather than pathways to social justice. These ‘Southern Perspectives’ are the core themes of our book, and the chapters which follow.

Structure of the book

We have arranged the chapters in parts. In Part I chapters by Squires, Fatsis, Cunneen, Dal Santo, and Jan and Waseem explore different aspects of the postcolonial legacies in the global South. These include the weaponized and especially violent forms of paramilitary policing as ‘pacification’ characteristic of Southern postcolonial policing, and the inseparable connections between policing and imperial dominance, as discussed in the chapter by Squires. Next, Fatsis considers the hostile and racially discriminatory policing of Black Afro-diasporic cultures, explored via a case study of the regulation of Black music styles in the United Kingdom. Cunneen explores the violent policing legacies which, under the impetus of the #BlackLivesMatter activism, coalesced globally as a series of protest campaigns against racist police violence. And finally, Jan and Waseem explore the enduring legacies of colonial laws, in particular the laws of sedition, and how such frameworks are retained by postcolonial states to police and control activism and civil society resistance, as in Pakistan.

Part II specifically addresses aspects of Southern policing and in particular the apparent difficulties of penal reform in Southern contexts. Cubas, Branco and Oliveira examine how the organization and structure of Brazilian policing challenges perceptions of legitimacy and due process, by assessing the support among police officers themselves for procedural justice practices. Watson, Pino and Harry assess the prospects for the adoption of community-centred policing strategies in Trinidad and Tobago, especially considering a seemingly non-receptive police culture. Dal Santo discusses the distinct political economy of punishment which has significantly shaped the nature and role of Brazilian penal policy and the character of its penal discipline. Also drawing upon research in Brazil, Dieter explores how prison riots are borne out of the hegemonic nature of the prison apparatus and may be caused by struggles for hegemony and control between authorities and inmates.

Part III engages with Indigenous and Southern experiences by tracing, first, the narrative of an Indigenous historian, Chief Blaise Iruinu, from Bougainville (curated by Lasslett) as he relates a cultural history of colonial dispossession, marginalization, war and resistance, in so doing reconnecting with a potent alternative cultural history. A second case study, by Albernaz, centres upon the boundaries, tensions and relationships negotiated by a community activist/entrepreneur working in a favela in Rio de Janeiro. Relatedly, Oliveira and Placencia explore the collective narratives regarding young victims of violence in São Paulo, Brazil, showing how they express a powerful sense of community loss and empathy. Finally, Zucatto’s chapter in this part describes the efforts of feminist activists to articulate and campaign for a progressive feminist politics to challenge the continued exclusion of women and the explicit acknowledgement of women’s rights in international security, peacebuilding and reconstruction projects and agreements.

We acknowledge mainstream criminology’s complicity in generating knowledge that is used to legitimize and maintain the oppression of marginalized, Black and Indigenous people around the globe (Agozino, 2003; Cavalcanti, 2020), and use this book as a critical intervention, a platform to dissent and turn our gaze to the legacies of colonialism, crimes of the powerful, and political and environmental harms. Accordingly, in our final part, Benzaquen and Borba begin by outlining the forms of colonial expropriation and exploitation, which, in contemporary neoliberal imperialism, have continued to generate deepening forms of human insecurity because of land grabs, enforced population displacement, primitive and extractive accumulation, and coerced and exploitative labour contracts. Complementing and developing this analysis is a chapter by Cavalcanti, Celi and Gomes, who draw upon findings from Mexico, Brazil and Ecuador to explore how new laws, the police and criminal justice agencies have been employed to crush dissent, deter and criminalize activists and campaigners, stigmatizing trade unionists, environmental and human rights advocates as criminals, terrorists and insurgents to delegitimize and disrupt social movements. Recognizing the increasing involvement of private security agencies, corporate military logistics enterprises and even private military companies in security work, surveillance, police work and war work, Lea examines the issues arising when states engage private forces to engage in state-sanctioned conflict or protect the interests of transnational corporations – sometimes against citizens themselves. Finally, Squires explores a number of war crimes and abuses that have taken place across conflict zones, including Iraq and Afghanistan, in the aftermath of colonial rule, and discusses how violence, pacification and military and police power remain as relevant to contemporary neoliberal imperialism as they were to empire’s past.

Collectively, these chapters also contribute to the growing range of perspectives that address both inequalities and divisions within our academic scholarship and practice, especially in mainstream criminology that has had an overwhelming focus on the ‘metropolis’. Often this has come at the risk of marginalizing postcolonial states and peripheral societies in terms of the epistemic value they add to the study of crime (and criminalization), justice, policing, security and social order. As such, the contributions in this volume collectively speak to decolonial, postcolonial, Southern and critical perspectives, contributing to debates that are still developing and evolving, and furthering them with the ultimate aim of amplifying the voices, experiences and epistemologies of those on the margins (Connell, 2007; Aliverti et al, 2021).

Note

1

By 2050 World Bank predictions suggest there are likely to be in excess of 140 million ‘climate migrants’ moving to more hospitable environments (Walter, 2022: 76).

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