Date of Degree

5-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Sociology

Advisor

Patricia T Clough

Committee Members

Victoria Pitts-Taylor

Michael Jacobson

Jasbir Puar

Subject Categories

Criminology | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Race and Ethnicity | Science and Technology Studies | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Theory, Knowledge and Science

Keywords

Carceral Studies, CompStat, Big Data, Policing, Analytics, Critical Theory

Abstract

This dissertation traces the rise of digitally-driven policing technologies in order to make sense of how prevailing logics of governance are transformed by ubiquitous computing technology. Beginning in the early 1990s, police departments and theorists began to rely on increasingly detailed sets of metrics to evaluate performance. The adoption of digital technology to streamline quantitative evaluation coincided with a steep decline in measured crime that served as a proof-of-concept for the effectivity of digital police surveillance and analytics systems. During the turbulent first two decades of the 21st century, such digital technologies were increasingly associated with reform projects designed to improve the transparency and accountability of police departments. This dissertation challenges that assertion, and argues that digitization functions to make “numerical” and “mathematical” racial and sexual violence that is internal to policing neoliberal political economy. Rather than transparency and accountability, this dissertation posits that the effect of digitally-driven police technology is the accelerative disentangling of the “human” from “life” and “life” from government. The consequence has been the ossification of a racialized carceral under the aegis of putatively anti-racist technocratic governance.

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