As violence work, policing exceeds the institution of the police. Indeed, the latest bout of American invasions that cluster under the label “global war on terror” have been framed as policing operations by American officials as well as scholars. What, then, is the relationship between these two violence workers, the soldier and the police officer? Should we characterize violence work, from Ferguson to Fallujah, as “policing”? And if so, how? What productive analytics, politics, and solidarities can such a framing underwrite? Equally important, what significant inequalities in the global regimes of power does such an analytic obscure? This special issue of Public Culture leverages the strengths of an interdisciplinary conversation to examine the discourses and practices of policing as a concept.

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