Monday, February 7, 2022

Jordan Woods on "Destabilizing Policing's Masculinity Project"

Jordan Blair Woods has published Destabilizing Policing’s Masculinity Project in volume 89 of the George Washington Law Review. The abstract summarizes: 

In the wake of national calls for police reform and nationwide protests of police killings of unarmed people of color, and unarmed Black men in particular, there is a renewed focus on the relationship between masculinity and police violence. This Article, prepared for a symposium on “Addressing the Crisis in Policing Today: Race, Masculinity, and Police Use of Force in America,” evaluates how scholars inside and outside of law have approached issues of masculinity and police violence. The analysis places special emphasis on where these approaches leave us in terms of police reform. As discussed, how police-civilian encounters relate to the social construction of gender and the enactment of masculinity are major focal points of recent literature on masculinity and police violence. From this perspective, interventions are geared towards negating gender hierarchies through processes of professional resocialization and degendering that aim to replace dominant masculinist cultural norms with antimasculinist ones. When adopted for the specific purpose of changing masculinist police culture, antimasculinist officer training and enhanced diversity recruitment (especially aimed at enhancing gender diversity) are noteworthy examples of these professional re-socialization strategies.

 

This Article aims to incite a conversation about moving discussions of masculinity and policing to a different plane. It evaluates the limits of social constructionist views of masculinity in policing contexts, and more specifically, the types of police reforms that follow from those views. To accomplish these goals, this Article looks outside the field of law to the discipline of criminology. As discussed, criminology is a useful comparative space to consider masculinity issues because for over a century the field has been concerned with its own “sex question” about crime, which revolves around the acknowledgment that most known criminal offenders, especially violent offenders, are men. Looking to literature outside of law, this Article argues that critical theoretical frameworks that move beyond the sex/gender distinction, such as those in postmodern feminism and queer theory, offer promise to dismantle gender hierarchies in policing on a deeper level through discursive and political strategies that challenge basic assumptions about the existing order and structure of contemporary policing. Although this Article is exploratory and invites further reflection and development, its analysis reveals the value in continually scrutinizing and reevaluating the discursive and political strategies in policing’s masculinity project.

 

 

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/gender_law/2022/02/jordan-woods-on-destabilizing-policings-masculinity-project.html

Gender, Masculinities, Race, Theory | Permalink

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