Journal Article

Does <i>Policing the Risk Society</i> Hold the Road Risk?

Jérôme Ferret and Vincent Spenlehauer

in The British Journal of Criminology

Published on behalf of Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (formerly ISTD)

Volume 49, issue 2, pages 150-164
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0007-0955
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1464-3529 | DOI:
Does Policing the Risk Society Hold the Road Risk?

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Ericson and Haggerty's book, Policing the Risk Society (1997), sets out to annul Bittner's classical, coercion-based reading of the police and replace it with a radically new paradigm that foregrounds the panoptical or knowledge work dimension of the police and its potential to serve the interests of non-police social-disciplinary institutions. In this article, we test this neo-Foucauldian paradigm on the basis of a body of research into road traffic policing. As a result, we observe that though non-police owner-managers of new risks challenge the societal immanence, centrality and publicness of police organizations, with time, these challenges fail. We therefore argue that Ericson and Haggerty's notion of panoptical policing should be taken as a theoretical innovation, which, far from eliminating Bittner's paradigm, enhances it with a new force.

Journal Article.  7795 words. 

Subjects: Criminology

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