A Lemma on Systems of Knotted Curves by Alexander J. W.

By Alexander J. W.

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Extra resources for A Lemma on Systems of Knotted Curves

Sample text

As I make clear, however, legal regulations do not determine police actions. The boundary between public and private space, for example, is not always clearly fixed; as I demonstrate, its permeability varies situationally and thus does not necessarily constrain officers in advance in all cases. Further, there is no easy means to predict just how faithful officers will be to strict legal regulations. My claims, therefore, are somewhat modest: that officers often take legal rules seriously, and that these rules shape the exercise of police territoriality.

This should not give the impression that the division is necessarily well patrolled. During my fieldwork, there were many instances when the full complement of patrol cars was not deployed, when the helicopter and K-9 units did not respond when requested, when SLOs complained about their inability to get narcotics officers to "work" an area, when CRU cars were forced, because of the heavy call load, to abandon their special projects and respond to radio calls. Though the LAPD network can be impressively wide and varied, it is infrequently developed to its fullest extent in any given area at any given time.

38 Social action always occurs in place, and thus is shaped by spatial contexts. At the same time, places themselves are always socially—and culturally— TERRITORIALITY AND THE POLICE 21 constructed. The social, the cultural, and the spatial are thereby deeply intertwined. Analysis of everyday police behavior, in other words, must pay attention not only to its social and cultural construction, but also to its intractable spatiality; in working to uphold socially constructed notions of public order, officers define and seek to control the spaces they patrol.

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