Policing and Incarceration

Implicit revanchism: Gang injunctions and the security politics of white liberalism

As part of our theorization of the place-making conduct of new residents living in a gentrifying neighborhood of Los Angeles, we identify a curious paradox in which white liberals openly disavow overtly punitive policing practices, yet continue to actively call for or tacitly accept police action taken against individuals they perceive to be “out of place.” We examine this seeming contradiction in the context of a contemporary legal mechanism called a civil gang injunction, which allows for the banishment of purported “gang members” from parts of the city even in the absence of actual criminal activity—that is, on the basis of subjective perceptions about what and who constitutes a nuisance. Diverging from traditional approaches to revanchism rooted in vengeful intent, we argue that the direct and tacit endorsement of gang injunctions is motivated by what we call “implicit revanchism”—a no less harmful phenomenon that reflects the persistent and potent effects of implicit racial bias in processes of urban place-making.

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Volume 37 Issue 6