1932

Abstract

Law and order denotes a negative form of peace secured among the members of a given social or political order. Minimally, it is an appeal to restore public order to conditions classed as disorderly, or to defend it against potential or articulated threats. But what counts as public disorder, and why is it a problem for any given social or political order? Although social and political scientists tend to concur that it is determined by tradition and convention, for some, the fact of disorder is sufficient for them to back projects for law enforcement and order maintenance. Others emphasize that facts about disorder are themselves socially made. Law and order is not a neutral category for interpretation of disorder, let alone for intervention. It is an ideological or discursive construct that itself warrants scrutiny. For still others, it is not just an element of ideology but a component in the technology of neoliberal government, which needs to be studied in terms of its functions and structural effects. And there are those who query whether law ought to be conjoined with order at all. They argue that no stable or necessary relation exists between the two and that the very idea of law and order is incongruous; that law and order or law order is apposite.

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