Bordering anxiety: Policing and the politics of othering in public housing areas in Denmark
Maya Mynster Christensen (Royal Danish Defence College)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores how the police engage in practices of bordering, as they seek to govern the political and social anxieties linked to urban mobilities, and how the policing of gang-related crime in public housing areas has perpetuated the politics of othering.
Paper long abstract:
Policing and the control of borders, previously concentrated at territorial edges of states, are currently disaggregated and delocalized away from national borders. Most significantly in this regard, national borders increasingly expand into and take effect in the city. This expansion is, at least partly, a consequence of the influx of refugees and migrants into cities which has moved the policing of migration from external national borders into urban environments. This paper suggests that urban policing is principally a practice of bordering. From the state to the street level, the police engage in multiple practices of 'bordering in' and 'bordering out', as they seek to govern the political and social anxieties linked to urban mobilities by separating wanted populations from the unwanted. Empirically, the paper illuminates how these practices of bordering perpetuate the politics of othering in the context of the policing of gang-related crime in two public housing areas in Denmark ('Gellerupparken' and 'Mjølnerparken'). In this context, the legitimization of extended stop and search operations - an interpretive policing practice which involves the selective filtering of mobility - has triggered new formations of suspicion and conspiracy, and a revitalization of tensions between marginalized residents and Danish welfare state actors. To unfold these tensions, the paper engages with the affective dimensions of bordering, and the ways in which registers such as fear, anxiety and desire are productive of 'antagonistic socialities'.
Antagonistic sociality: an anthropology of lives opposed