Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Transparency/visibility and dissimulation/opacity in a street level bureaucracy, the Portuguese Police  


Susana Durão (UNICAMP (São Paulo, Brazil))

Paper short abstract:

In Portuguese Police urban force the concept of 'transparency' can be analytically useful as long as we combine it with the concept of 'visibility'. In this paper I propose to think about problems of policing policy and bureaucratic changes from an ethnographic perspective.

Paper long abstract:

This paper aims to study particular aspects of the engineering of Portuguese police force policy and adaptable bureaucratic changes to it.

Although opacity is underlined in police studies, I believe that the focus should rather be put on visibility and the ways this policy gains form beyond the so called process of making the police more transparent. I will show how the Portuguese police force produce visibility in two strategic ways: on street level policing and in criminal statistics. I conclude that both processes, especially the "statistics-making" policy, can serve its opposite purpose, underlining professional opacity instead of the so intended transparency of the police force.

Panel W052
World(s) of bureaucrats