As I am finalizing my paper “Police State: The state, student activism, and spaces of politics after 1968 in Mexico City” (an intervention into political geographies of state power, also discussed here and here), I have enjoyed watching and rewatching this interview with Erik Swyngedouw (linked through Stuart Elden’s Progressive Geographies blog).
My formulation of the police-politics distinction (drawing from Rancière) is different than Swyngedouw’s distinction between “politics” and “the political,” but I find it nonetheless complementary. For me, “the police” is a name for the naturalization of inherited political classifications – a configuration of the world available to perception, which discourages politics. “Politics” cannot be pursued through the assertion of identities given by existing police order. To the contrary, politics is beyond what can be counted upon in the existing order; it is by definition unaccounted for. But if unaccounted for, it is also permanently possible. Moments of inconsistency are endemic to police ordering, which is after all naturalized in part by the very people who could come to pursue its disruption.
For readers of the scholarship on police power, police order, and post-politics, this CFP for EchoGeo may be of interest:
Call for Papers: “Police: places of order, order in place”
Special issue (28) of French online review EchoGeo : http://echogeo.revues.org/
Editors: Armelle Choplin (Université Paris-Est), Marie Redon (Université Paris-13)
Deadline : 25th October
Detailed Call for Papers in english: http://echogeo.revues.org/13316
Papers (about 6000 words – 30,000 characters) must be sent *by the 25th October 2013* to Marie Redon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Armelle Choplin (email@example.com), copying in Béatrice Vélard, Editorial Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) (double-blind peer review procedure).