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30 November 2020
Global Counterinsurgency and the Police-Military Continuum
Guest editor: Stuart Schrader (Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University), author of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing (University of California Press, 2019)
This special issue of Small Wars and Insurgencies, projected for publication in mid-2021, is inspired by the political mobilization against police violence in the United States after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This mobilization has spread and evolved into a global wave of political protest focused on policing, racial inequality, and state violence. In this issue, we ask how police have been ideologically inspired, tactically reoriented, and technologically retrofitted by counterinsurgency campaigns. We examine the blurriness between war and peace that the intersections of counterinsurgency and policing highlight, from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. We also take seriously police conceptions of the nexus between crime and political insurgency to examine how states respond to and also shape underground and illicit organizations. In particular, we are interested in research articles that expand beyond the single-nation case study to think transnationally and consider foreign and domestic within a single analytic frame.
Some of the questions we invite scholars to examine include: In what ways have Black Lives Matter and Black, Latinx, and Native radical political traditions more broadly revealed, analyzed, and critiqued the development of policing as counterinsurgency? How effectively does the commonly held contemporary notion of “police militarization” capture the transformations of policing both after 9/11 and in longer historical trajectories? How have police in post-conflict states enacted efforts to prevent new insurgencies and, by looking at policing, what are the continuities visible between conflict and post-conflict situations? What are the underappreciated sites and circuits of counterinsurgent knowledge revealed when looking at less-studied examples, whether Central America in the 1980s, South Africa from the last years of Apartheid, or Sri Lanka in the 1980s and 1990s?
It is hoped that several new themes and research areas will emerge from this issue. How far, for example, might a focus on the impact of US policing models lead to a rethinking of counterinsurgency as a phenomenon driven on most occasions by professional militaries? How far has the US policing model transcended national boundaries and shaped various forms of quasi-counterinsurgencies across the globe? How far does this emphasis on policing lead to a de-emphasis of other models, such as French counter-insurgency expertise derived from the Algerian War? What is the role of private security firms in contemporary intersections of policing and counterinsurgency, both operationally and in the settings of training and logistics? How far, too, do manufacturers of capital-intensive technologies of surveillance and behavior prediction shape counterinsurgency and policing? In what ways does policing practice shape or underpin the seemingly eternal return of counterinsurgency as a fad among strategists and military theorists? Finally, is the “militarized” US policing model in some form of competition globally with other models rooted in other national experiences, such as China as a rising global power?
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We invite initial proposals for papers with an abstract and resume/curriculum vitae. The deadline for proposals is 30 November 2020. Proposals that are selected for the issue will need to be submitted by the deadline of 30 May 2021. They will undergo a formal peer-review process according to the standards of Small Wars and Insurgencies. Please e-mail Stuart Schrader ([email protected]) with inquiries. The issue will be published in the summer of 2021 and may be later published as an edited book by Routledge.
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