Policing and Incarceration

Conscription or constriction: Military policing of urban youth

Policing—order-making practices to discipline society and tackle crime—goes beyond the typical work of constabulary forces. There is a plurality of policing actors, rationales, and interests within a larger security assemblage, and multiple configurations of those elements according to specific contexts. This paper presents the phenomenon of batidas militares—military raids with the purpose of enforced conscription—carried out by the Colombian army as an informal policing practice. Through a combination of spatial analysis and fieldwork, including interviews with policing operators and young people involved in documented cases, I explain how the systematic execution of batidas created invisible, yet identifiable, urban borders, and how batidas operated as complementary preemptive security devices imposing a militarist order on the city.

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Volume 38 Issue 3

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