Policing the Young – Dystopic Ways of Dealing with Young People
Chapter proposals are invited for a groundbreaking book that will focus on how policing has become a dystopic reality in young people’s lives around the world. Policing of the young is not only very distasteful, disrespectful and dispiriting, but also highly discriminatory and increasingly disproportionate in terms of the force and measures employed.
Over the last two decades, police forces around the world have become increasingly more militarised and policing have become more intrusive. As the “security state” has expanded, policing has expanded in parallel, both in terms of size and scope. Encounters between police and laypeople have also changed dramatically, resulting in more fatalities. The most visible examples come from the US, where police killings are routine, so routine that they are now tallied on a website.
Young people now encounter police brutality at earlier ages. In 2014, Tamir Rice was shot and killed in a park in Cleveland. He was playing with a pellet gun and was shot seconds after two policemen arrived on the scene in a police car. There was no warning or confrontation. Tamir died the next day. This, of course, is not new: police forces often target marginalised young people with brutality, if they knew they could get away with it. In 1973, for instance, 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez and his 13-year-old brother David were handcuffed and taken inside a police car in Dallas. They were accused of robbing $8 from a vending machine. One of the police officers tried Russian roulette to force the boys to confess. He pulled the trigger twice: with the second pull, he killed Santos. The striking difference, however, is that police forces now resort to brutality even when their actions are being captured by cameras.
Police brutality received far less attention in the global South, and was often dismissed by corporate media. Only very extreme cases were recorded and are remembered. In 1993, for instance, a gang opened fire on some 50 street children sleeping outside of the Candelaria Church in Rio de Janeiro. Four of them were killed at the scene, another was shot down as he escaped, two were executed in a car, and one died a few days later. Two of the victims were 18 years old while six were still children. Some of the gang members were later identified as military police officers.
Police killings in Brazil, US, Greece, Turkey or elsewhere, however, are only the tip of the iceberg. As policing-by-police forces has become more pervasive and intrusive, policing-by-civilians (local authorities, local businesses, educators, neighbours, as well as parents) has become more common and also more acceptable. Cameras are in use in schools, even in preschools. Surveillance has become routine and is constantly promoted as a safeguard, particularly in public spaces. Companies now promote anti-youth devices, such as the “mosquito device”. Evening curfews are imposed on young people with little objection from human rights activists or children’s rights organisations. In Europe, visiting certain websites now can be treated as an offence. In the US, “zero tolerance” policies has replaced conventional school discipline. There are now laws against “disturbing school,” and thousands of students, as young as 7, are charged with offences such as yelling and shoving. A student can face a 90-day detention or a $1,000 fine. In Turkey, the number of children killed by the police has increased over a decade and so have clever efforts to make children warm up to the police. Police officers with smiling faces visit classrooms, beginning in preschool, to engage in “educational activities”. Police presence in schools is frequently promoted as a security measure.
Submission process and deadlines
Chapter proposals from various disciplines (e.g, social work, law, sociology, education, psychology) and perspectives (e.g., scholars, activists, educators, practitioners) are welcome. Detailed proposals (maximum of 500 words or two double-spaced pages, excluding references) indicating the potential contribution are expected by 15 July 2017, at the latest. The most relevant and promising abstracts will be selected for further development into full manuscripts. Full paper submission deadline is 01 December 2017. An international publisher has expressed interest in publishing the volume in 2018. Submissions and questions should be directed to Professor Serdar Degirmencioglu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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