In this brief essay, the authors analyze encounters between Tivoli Gardens residents and members of the Jamaican police and military during the West Kingston security operation of May 2010 (the so-called Tivoli Incursion), understanding these (often violent) interactions as extreme examples of “security encounters,” in which security professionals and citizens negotiate specific roles, rights, and responsibilities. Such encounters are political performances: security professionals seek to assert their authority in particular ways, while citizens use various strategies to claim political belonging. Focusing on one case in particular, they suggest that police and soldiers, acting in part out of fear, performed a version of violent, arbitrary authority that perhaps sought to mirror and replace that of dons. Meanwhile, Tivoli Gardens residents sought to protect their own lives and those of their loved ones by mobilizing embodied and discursive performances of citizenship. The analysis of this case draws from the records of the West Kingston Commission of Inquiry 2014–2016.

You do not currently have access to this content.