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Police Expertise in Urban Violence

NCJ Number
Deviance and Society Volume: 24 Issue: 4 Dated: 2000 Pages: 351-375
L. Mucchielli
Date Published
25 pages
This article examined the debate over the French police’s stated expertise in controlling urban violence and the potential for unfairly labeling individuals or groups living in urban communities.
In the 1990's, the French police took advantage of favorable political climate and promoted the intensification of police control over the urban violence, in particular the lower-class suburban areas. The new police’s discourse on so-called “urban violence was received by with public debate. The police alleged an expertise based in particular on the police statistical production. In an attempt to put it back in its context, the history of police control was examined. The evolution of police hierarchy and the constitution of a wider “experts” network had prevailed since the 1990-1991 riots, promoting the intensified control over lower-class urban areas. However, the analysis of the discourse’s empirical foundations, for one thing, showed an improperly catastrophic vision of the extent of the problem and it compounded under a single label of urban violence behaviors that should have distinguished according to differential logics and as a result, stigmatized Black and particularly Arab immigrants’ children.