Top PDF Public Administration and Civil Society

Ana Paula Galdeano, Civil Society, Violence and Public Safety

Finally, the data collected here also reveal the difficulty involved in giving civil society shared responsibility for issues related to public safety. Under a critical view of the “panacea of civil society” (Comaroff & Comaroff, 2006), the participation of community in “risk management” (Rose, 1999) or the need to establish “law and order” under a new social contract inspired by “radical liberalism” (Adorno, 1998), some studies have questioned the abil- ity of the “Preventive State” to re-establish security. Nikolas Rose (1999) has worked more precisely on experiences of crime prevention in areas of high exclusion that frequently involve techniques for the identification and con- trol of groups seen as dangerous – which he calls new penology. In this new diagram of control, the communities demand sanctions against offenders, which frequently amount to schemes to “name, shame and blame” offenders (Rose, 1999: 239). Inspired by Michel Foucault, the new penology explains the new diagram of control where “risk groups” are probabilistically calculated, in order to anticipate the possible locus of danger, involving the community and neighborhood in the process. This creates a complex scenario: on the one hand, there is a need to assure the right to security; on the other hand, the risk that participative experiences might criminalize even more subjects who are already devoid of rights and stigmatized by their conditions of class, gender, race and age. After all, the purpose of participative experiences is nei- ther the exclusion or elimination of “dangerous elements” through a focus on “suspicion,” nor the “technical administration of difference” (Rose, op. cit.: 235). It is important to differentiate policies that aim at including those who are excluded from rights, activating a circuit of civility and citizenry, based on strategies that seek to govern the population and supposed “anti-citizens” through probabilistic calculations to “neutralize the danger” to the social body. It is precisely in this dilemma that the challenge of participative experi- ences in the field of public safety can be posed.

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