Contesting Governance Book Launch Dr. Thijs Jeursen


The Contesting Governance platform looks forward to hosting its first Book Launch with Dr. Thijs Jeursen (Assistant Professor at the Department of Humanities). He will present his book ‘The Vigilant Citizen; Everyday Policing and Insecurity in Miami’, which will take place on 16 June 2023, 16:00-17:30 (walk-in from 15:30). Dr. Hayal Akarsu (Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology) and Dr. Rianne Dekker (assistant professor at the Utrecht University School of Governance) will act as discussants.


Recent scholarship on policing demonstrates the institutionalized nature of racist and violent practices. Yet it also tends to overlook how a logic of individualized responsibility for security exacerbates and legitimizes existing inequalities. Based on eleven months of fieldwork in Miami, drawing on the stories and experiences of police officers, private security guards, neighbourhood watch groups, civil society organizations, and a broad range of residents and activists, I observed that feelings of insecurity and individual responsibility are incredibly widespread, and are shared broadly across differently positioned individuals and groups. In this book, I develop the framework of vigilant citizenship as to better understand the inequalities associated with policing in ways that recognize, but also go beyond police brutality. As a central premise in everyday policing, vigilant citizenship frames racist and violent policing as matters of personal blame and individual guilt – as problems of citizens. This waters down the realities of how race operates in policing and US society more broadly. Ideals of private security, litigation, and lateral surveillance have become cornerstones of urban governance in the past decades, informing everyday practices and understandings of what it means to enact your vigilant citizenship today. Throughout the book, I highlight how a logic of policing race is pervasive outside political bodies and institutions, beyond elected officials, where it is internalized and routinely employed by a broad range of actors. 

Everyone who is interested in the topic is welcome! We look forward seeing you there!

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Theatherzaal - Muntstraat 2 A/Kromme Nieuwegracht 20-22
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