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Accepted Paper:

Virtuous imperialism: African police cadets training in Portugal  
Susana Durão (UNICAMP (São Paulo, Brazil))

Paper short abstract:

I analyse the ambiguous and nation(ilst) process of "virtuous imperialism" and human rights of a study program for the training of future police leaders, both Portuguese and African. How do African cadets cope with it?

Paper long abstract:

Applying both policing theory and practice, a prestigious police academy, ISCPSI - the Portuguese Higher Institute of Police and Internal Security Sciences runs an intensive 5-year study program. Participants include Lusophone African citizens (students from the former Portuguese colonies) studying in an environment purpose designed to train future police leaders in Portugal, by principle respectful of human rights. I coordinated a project which aimed to follow-up and scrutinize the experience of those African officer trainees. I asked questions such as: What models and dynamics are activated in such an unusual program? How are "cooperative" African cadets actually involved in a Portuguese police academy? I show how (the turn to) democracy and Portuguese, as the common spoken language, prove the main ingredients of what I term virtuous imperialism, which, in the end, absorbs and transforms into a contextualized national(ist) institution questions and issues underpinning the very notion of human rights. "Teaching by example" establishes a certain transnational geo-relationship among nation states - based on a post-colonial aid-imperative (by the Portuguese State) in a practice converted into a gift-imperative (that must be accepted on its own terms by the African states and their subjects). Thus, macro aspects of Portugal-Africa cooperation can be studied by observing the micro dynamics of the everyday life of police cadets. While in public spheres, African cadets do celebrate belonging and gratitude towards the ISPCSI in particular and Portugal in general, in more private and discrete fashions, they still live and deal with the ambiguities of a post-colonial power-asymmetrical relationship.

Panel P075
Moral entrepreneurship: revisiting human rights [PACSA]
  Session 1