Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Jeff Maskovsky

Committee Members

Jacqueline Nassy Brown

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Subject Categories

Social and Cultural Anthropology


Race, Racism, Policing, Technology, Infrastructure, Urban Governance


This dissertation draws on three years of ethnographic and archival research to explore the relationship between technology, policing and race at the NYPD. In focusing on the ways problems are constructed and police power enacted, I explore the more-than-human entanglements in the production of race and the governance of cities under racial capitalism. My overarching claim is that urban governance works through contentious techno-political arrangements I call race-police regimes, which sanction and elicit race by enacting forms of exclusion and belonging. Racial capitalism in New York City, I argue, is governed through a technocratic mode of policing which leverages and entrenches a liberal faith in crime statistics and a common sense regarding the objectivity of crime phenomena and the proper means of upholding social order. Even as it convenes carceral publics across class, race and gender divides, it also underwrites moral panics directed at presumptively criminal anticitizens which are figured archetypically as black. Race-police regimes produce their own justifications and so can remain viable when called into question by protests. Yet they are also riven with antagonism and thus constantly propelled toward rupture and reinvention.