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Provisional Authority: Police, Order, and Security in India

Provisional Authority: Police, Order, and Security in India
1 Devonshire Place, Room 108N, Munk School of Global Affairs
Time: Apr 13th, 4:00 pm End: Apr 13th, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: South Asian, Religion, Study of (FAS), Critical Theory, Criminology, Anthropology (UTSC), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-
Panel Discussion

The Munk School of Global Affairs presents

Provisional Authority: Police, Order, and Security in India Book Launch

Policing as a global form is often fraught with excessive violence, corruption, and even criminalization. These sorts of problems are especially omnipresent in postcolonial nations such as India, where Beatrice Jauregui has spent several years studying the day-to-day lives of police officers in its most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. In this book, she offers an empirically rich and theoretically innovative look at the great puzzle of police authority in contemporary India and its relationship to social order, democratic governance, and security.

Jauregui explores the paradoxical demands placed on Indian police, who are at once routinely charged with abuses of authority at the same time that they are asked to extend that authority into any number of both official and unofficial tasks. Her ethnography of their everyday life and work demonstrates that police authority is provisional in several senses: shifting across time and space, subject to the availability and movement of resources, and dependent upon shared moral codes and relentless instrumental demands. In the end, she shows that police authority in India is not simply a vulgar manifestation of raw power or the violence of law but, rather, a contingent and volatile social resource relied upon in different ways to help realize human needs and desires in a pluralistic, postcolonial democracy.

Provocative and compelling, Provisional Authority provides a rare and disquieting look inside the world of police in India, and shines critical light on an institution fraught with moral, legal and political contradictions.
Beatrice Jauregui is assistant professor at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. She is coeditor of the Handbook of Global Policing and Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.


Rachel Ostep


Beatrice Jauregui
Assistant Professor, Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies

Frank Cody
Associate Professor, Centre for South Asian Studies at the Asian Institute; and Department Of Anthropology, UTM

Andrea Muehlebach
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, UTM

Kevin O’Neill
Professor, Department for the Study of Religion

Christoph Emmrich
Director, Centre for South Asian Studies

Main Sponsor

Centre for South Asian Studies


Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

Asian Institute



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