The political at the end of the baton

Politics on the street corner
Running away from the police, obeying, resisting: Between deviance and citizenship
By Kamel Boukir

Why do young men from working-class neighborhoods run away from the police when they shouldn’t have anything to fear? Based on an ethnographic fieldwork, this article shows that running away is based on interactional tensions. The hypervisibility of “les jeunes de cité” (inner city youth) is displayed in the interactions with police officers. This ecology of encounters embodies a political relationship. “Les mecs de cité” routinely cultivate a pattern of interactions which draws neither from social disorganization nor from a culture of violence, but from an ongoing political process of valuing the legitimacy of police action. In this social setting, conflict is constitutive of the political.

  • young people
  • police
  • projects
  • violence
  • discrimination
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