This article develops a theorization of “speculative policing”: an experimental, future-oriented form of policing that connects crime prevention to real-estate speculation and other forms of negotiating urban risk and uncertainty. Speculative policing works to establish a specific sociopolitical order; renders economically productive the differentiated and dynamic value of urban spaces and populations; and involves flexible, provisional interventions that anticipate failure and skirt the edges of the law. Speculative policing combines three future-oriented phenomena that engage with risk and uncertainty in different ways: preventive policing, realestate speculation, and experimental modes of governance. These phenomena are in themselves not necessarily new; the specificity of speculative policing lies in the conjunction of these three phenomena in contemporary cities. Their combination implies the emergence of a new mode of urban security governance, a form of political and economic rationality that is speculative both in its underlying logic and in its everyday implementation.
Rivke Jaffe is professor of urban geography at the University of Amsterdam. Connecting geography, anthropology, and cultural studies, her research focuses primarily on intersections of the urban and the political. Her current work studies security dogs in Jamaica. Her publications include Concrete Jungles: Urban Pollution and the Politics of Difference in the Caribbean (2016) and Introducing Urban Anthropology (with Anouk de Koning, 2016).
Rivke Jaffe; Speculative Policing. Public Culture 1 September 2019; 31 (3): 447–468. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-7532751
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