Food for Thought: Deviance and Accountability in the World of Commodified Social Control

Posted: March 16, 2013 by Mike Larsen in Accountability in Private Policing, Food for Thought

We are spending a week (alas, only one) studying police deviance and accountability in the context of private policing or ‘commodified social control’.

Here are the abstracts for our two classes:

 One of the most pressing issues driving research on police deviance and accountability is the ongoing ‘pluralization’ of policing associated with the expansion of the private security field and the blurring of boundaries between public and private policing. The governance framework for private security – from recruitment and training to accountability and oversight – is multifaceted and uneven. In this class, we will examine forms of deviance associated with private policing, drawing on the PIVOT Legal Society report on private security in Vancouver.

Reading: PIVOT Legal Society (2009). Security Before Justice: A study of the impacts of private security on homeless and under-housed Vancouver residents

and

In this class, we will concentrate on the debates surrounding accountability for private policing and security. We will consider the differences between approaches that regard private policing as a commodified ‘club good’ and approaches that regard it as part of a broader ‘public good’. We will discuss the issue of values and ethics in the context of private security and consider accountability and regulatory mechanisms associated with private policing in Canada.

Reading: Van Buuren, J. (2010). “Private Security Ethics: Reintroducing Public Values”, in M. den Boer & E. Kolthoff (eds) Ethics and Security. The Hague: Eleven International Publishing, pp. 165-187.

 Food for Thought:

For this unit, I would like you to apply the ideas developed by Van Buuren in his analysis of private security ethics to the case study of private policing in the DTES prepared by Pivot. How can we use Van Buuren’s analysis to make sense of the findings of the ‘Security Before Justice’ report?

This is an open-ended question, and you can focus on themes that seem most important to you. There are a few points to bear in mind:

  • Remember – you are writing a post about two readings, but you must prepare it in a way that it is understandable to persons who have not read the material. Be sure to ‘unpack’ and clarify concepts. Provide citations where appropriate.
  • Do not attempt to be exhaustive, or to work through the readings point-by-point. Give both texts a thorough reading, take note of key points, and write your post about these.

This post is due by the end of the day on March 26.

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