The NLS Public Lecture Series | The Politics of Expendability: State Suppression of Police Workers in India
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Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 6:00 pm
The NLS Public Lecture Series invites you to a talk on ‘The Politics of Expendability: State Suppression of Police Workers in India’ by Prof. Beatrice Jauregui on December 8, 2021 at 6 pm.
About the speaker
Prof. Beatrice Jauregui is Associate Professor at the Centre for Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies, University of Toronto.
Building on theorization of police in contemporary India as “expendable servants” (Jauregui 2016), this paper analyzes government responses to attempts by police constables to express job-related grievances and establish employee unions. Drawing on ethnographic observations, interviews, and archival documents collected in Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi over fifteen years, the analysis demonstrates that for more than a century, class warfare within police organizations has manifested in counterinsurgency lawfare between senior officials and subordinate personnel regarding whether and how the latter may collectively organize to transform their living and working conditions. It further shows how in this context the law subjectifies rank and file police as an ironically exploitable class of laborers who are always already suspect of rebelling against the state that they have sworn to serve. Through revelations of a long history of structural servitude compelling subaltern police in South Asia to do questionably legal types of work, this study raises challenging questions about how police as expendable workers have been conceived and practiced globally, and how, moving forward, we must work to reimagine what police work is, can be, and ought to be in India and beyond.