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  • Pacification theory

    Pacification theory


    • Pacification theory is a counter-hegemonic approach to the study of police and security which views the contemporary security-industrial complex as both an organizing and systematic war strategy targeting domestic and foreign enemies while simultaneously acting as a process that actively fabricates a social order conducive to capitalist accumulation. According to its academic proponents, such an approach to police and security reveals inherent class war dimensions that have been reinforced by police intellectuals since at least the eighteenth century.

      At base, pacification reflects the need to fabricate productive territories and subjects conducive to exploitation. As Neocleous, Rigakos and Wall explain: "The extraction of surplus, as Adam Smith admits, can ‘be squeezed out of [the labourer] by violence only, and not by any interest of his own’ if he can subsist otherwise such as through access to communal land. This, in short, is the foundational bourgeois logic for the compulsion to pacify."

      Pacification theory may vary in its use depending on the analyst, but most scholars associated with Anti-security would likely agree that its central tenets encompass:

      Associated with this last point and serving an essential component of pacification is its immediate connection to making subjects economically "productive" both historically within the plans of military and overseers and by contemporary police actions, both domestic and international. Neocleous has characterized this process as making war through peace:

      " we need to grasp security as pacification... whereas for most people ‘pacification’ is associated with the actions of colonizing powers, has a close connection to counter-insurgency tactics and is therefore widely understood as the military crushing of resistance, an examination of the theory and practice of pacification reveals a far more ‘productive’ dimension to the idea. ‘Productive’ in that what is involved is less the military crushing of resistance and more the fabrication of order, of which the crushing of resistance is but one part."



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