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Fighting for a Democratic Police: Politics, Experts and Bureaucrats in the Transformation of the Police in Post-Authoritarian Chile and Argentina

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Abstract Through a comparative field analysis, I explain why, after being subjected to the same reform projects and rationalities in the democratic period, police bureaucracies changed in Chile but remained unchanged in Argentina. In doing so I advance a field theory account of police bureaucratic change that (a) overcomes the limitations of Late-modern, Post-modern and Governmentality theories of police change, and (b) emphasizes positionality, agency and a plurality of interests in processes of administrative change. I demonstrate that the proliferation of new experts and their reconversion strategies within the field led to the emergence of specific demands for reform while the historical structures and location of the policing field and the outcomes of struggles within them determined the differential evolution of police organizations in democratic times.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology University of California Berkeley 410 Barrows Hall Berkeley CA 94720


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