Book review: The New Police Science

Law and Politics reviews The new police science, edited by Markus D. Dubber and Mariana Valverde (Stanford).

THE NEW POLICE SCIENCE is one of those rare edited volumes where the whole is much greater than the sum of the individual parts. This is an important book because it casts contemporary and historical understandings of police, the police power(s) of states, and the meaning of the verb to police in a new light. It brings together disparate literatures on this topic from the fields of legal theory, legal history, political theory, criminology, and the general social sciences. As the subtitle suggests, a major theme of the book is to draw critical attention to the increased use of policing vocabulary in international politics. Still, the audience for this book goes beyond those interested in international security issues to include anyone interested in the sanctioned use of force and/or regulatory authority by the officers of sovereign states, both domestically and internationally. The book is also an excellent example of the continuing intellectual payouts from Michel Foucault’s suggestions on the re-conceptualization of the human sciences (1971), and that is true even though the authors represent a variety of theoretical dispositions.

In addition to the editors, contributors include Mark Neocleous, Pasquale Pasquino, and Mitchell Dean.

One Response

  1. I’d second the good review – the book, on the whole, is quite excellent. It neatly falls into the tradition of great theoretico-empirical work taking Foucault’s governmentality and history of the present as a point of departure – such as The Foucault Effect and Foucault and Political Reason.

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