Policing Protest: The Post-Democratic State and the Figure of Black Insurrection

Regular price $ 28.95

by Paul A. Passavant

Duke University Press

8/13/2021, paperback

SKU: 9781478011439


In Policing Protest, Paul A. Passavant explores how the policing of protest in the United States has become increasingly hostile since the late 1990s, moving away from strategies that protect protesters toward militaristic practices designed to suppress protests.

He identifies reactions to three interrelated crises that converged to institutionalize this new mode of policing: the political mobilization of marginalized social groups in the Civil Rights era that led to a perceived crisis of democracy, the urban fiscal crisis of the 1970s, and a crime crisis that was associated with protests and civil disobedience of the 1960s.

As Passavant demonstrates, these reactions are all haunted by the figure of black insurrection, which continues to shape policing of protest and surveillance, notably in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Ultimately, Passavant argues, this trend of violent policing strategies against protesters is evidence of the emergence of a post-democratic state in the United States.


"Although of late a lot has been written on policing, nothing that I have read takes up this important topic of protest policing, let alone gives it such a far-reaching and well-supported reading. The policing of protest turns out to be a distinctive but truly revealing piece of contemporary policing, one that no one has covered as comprehensively as Paul A. Passavant does in this text." -- Jonathan Simon, author of Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America

"A masterful book filled with keen insights about policing protests using grounded data and compelling stories. It's easily the best analysis I've read on this topic and sets a new standard for theoretical integration, clarity, and real-world relevance." -- Peter B. Kraska, author of Militarizing the American Criminal Justice System: The Changing Roles of the Armed Forces and the Police

About the Author:

Paul A. Passavant is Associate Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the author of No Escape: Freedom of Speech and the Paradox of Rights, and coeditor of Empire's New Clothes: Reading Hardt and Negri.