UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

To protect and serve? : a conceptual investigation into the extremes of police power de Soete, Francois


This thesis articulates a conceptual understanding of police power in North America, identifying how this power manifests itself on the street, in hopes of illuminating the power dynamic that enables instances of misconduct to occur. The works of Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, and Louis Althusser are deployed as the theoretical frameworks through which police power is analyzed. The Foucauldian perspective presents police power as a function of juridico-scientific disciplinary forces in society. This analysis is supplemented with an examination of police power as a post-colonial phenomenon, drawing on Fanon's work as a framework through which discriminatory police practices are examined. Finally, police power is examined within the context of capitalist production, and the repressive and ideological state apparatuses, as theorized by Althusser, to identify the class dimension that influences policing in North America.

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