The Institutional Capture of Abolitionist Dissent: Ending Genres of Police Science

Mon Mohapatra, Rachel Kuo


Digital Infrastructures

Policing, Race

Fist raisedResearch can reproduce racial violence; here's how not to do that

Conflict and harm are inevitable within democratic social movements. In a pair of columns for Interactions by the Association for Computing Machinery, Rachel Kuo and her Mon Mohapatra explore the role endings and dissolutions play in research and social organizing. In "The Institutional Capture of Abolitionist Dissent: Ending Genres of Police Science," Mohapatra and Kuo argue for abolitionist movements as a framework to end research that reproduces systems of violence. As they write,

"A body of scholarship has emerged on the new machinery of policing, such as predictive analytics, data surveillance, and body cameras. This research uses methodologies drawing on police data, sources, and perspectives as primary source material. These methods do not sufficiently reject the role of policing, instead assimilating the source of violence by configuring police as the solution for police brutality."

Kuo and Mohapatra are joined by Rigoberto Lara Guzmán for a second piece in the same issue titled "Lateral Violences: Speculating Exit Strategies within Movements (A Concept Note)." In this piece, Dr. Kuo, Mon Mohapatra, and Rigoberto Lara Guzmán explore how planning for endings, exits, pauses, and dissolutions strengthens the long-term viability of social movements:

"We can anticipate lateral violence by remembering that networks, like all energy configurations, have a life cycle: emergence, when principles and values are established, then growth and maintenance, which emphasize capacity building, and finally, the ending of a network, which may create new offshoots."