Literature and Global Policing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines global policing from the perspective of literary studies, and vice versa. Its general argument is that the globalization of both police activity and literary culture unsettles the paradigm of “discipline” popularized by the work of Michel Foucault, which has dominated literary discussions of policing since the mid-1980s. With an eye on the contemporaneous development, within Britain’s nineteenth-century Empire, of both modern policing and English Literature as an academic subject, it argues that the interdependence of power and culture as global forces is clear from early on. Against Foucauldian systematicity, which ties discipline to the institution of the nation-state, it offers readings of three separate historical moments when the relationship between literature and the global field of policing appears particularly problematic: Rudyard Kipling finds himself unsettled by a spectacularly visible policeman in Calcutta in 1888; in the early twentieth century, writers from John Buchan to E.M. Forster find themselves in fear of a police service that suddenly seems inhuman and bureaucratic; finally, after September 11th, several American writers describe the ways in which global policing both generates and forecloses imaginative possibilities for connection to other people and other places.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe SAGE Handbook of Global Policing
EditorsIan Loader, Ben Bradford, Beatrice Jauregui, Jonny Steinberg
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2016


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