Negotiating Demands: The Politics of Skid Row Policing in Edinburgh, San Francisco, and Vancouver

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University of Toronto Press, 2007 - Social Science - 253 pages

The relationship between policing and the governance of society is an important and complex one, especially as it relates to destitute areas. Through a comparative analysis of policing in skid row districts in three cities -Edinburgh, San Francisco, and Vancouver - Negotiating Demands offers an inside look at the influence of local political, moral, and economic issues on police practices within marginalized communities.

Through an analysis of various theoretical approaches and ethnographic field data, Laura Huey unveils a portrait of skid row policing as a political process. Police are regularly called upon to negotiate often-conflicting sets of demands, especially within the context of disadvantaged or troubled neighbourhoods. Examining a broad spectrum of police procedures and community responses, Huey offers a reconceptualization of the police as political actors who 'negotiate demands' of different constituencies. How the police meet these demands - through incident- and context-specific uses of law enforcement, peacekeeping, social work, and knowledge work - are shown to be a product of the civic environment in which they operate and of the 'moral-economic' forces that shape public discourse.

Negotiating Demands is an original and thought-provoking study that not only advances our knowledge of police organization and decision-making strategies but also refines our understanding of how processes of social inclusion and exclusion occur in different liberal regimes and how they can be addressed.

 

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About the author (2007)

Laura Huey is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Concordia University.

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