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Reimagining Police and Public Safety

ASG 2021

There is a tendency to understand the police as the core provider of public safety and security –as the thin blue line between order and chaos. Police as an organised force and policing as a diverse set of practices, however, are under growing scrutiny globally, and alternative ways of understanding police, its role, and public safety are on the agenda. Debates about the police sometimes provide critical and radical ideas for structural change and at other times argue for modernisation and redirecting of public resources towards the police institutions.

The necessity of police and policing, as self-evident as it may appear at the first glance, has not always been so pervasive or commonplace, nor has policing always been seen as the primary remedy to all sorts of social harms and insecurities. In this Advanced Study Group we are particularly interested in how ideals like public order, safety, security, and justice have come to such an inseparable linkage with police and police work, both in legal and political discourse and in the public and cultural imagination.

Our aim is to unpack, and understand police and policing, its social meaning and significance beyond its face value conceptualizations (men and women in uniforms), and question taken for granted assumptions regarding safety, security and public order as integral and inseparable from police in its contemporary modern organisation.

Mindful of compromises and critiques, this study group tries to reimagine safety and security beyond increasing the assignments of the police forces, and a blind trust towards new technologies and the police as a solution to social problems.

A close study of current local and global developments in policing, as well as historical examinations and case studies are central to the ambition of this study group, and will be instrumental in understanding what sort of sociality the current rapid and multifaceted changes within Swedish police force reflect.

The Reimagining Police and Public Safety Study Group covers competencies within criminology, history, labour organisation and condition of policing, law and criminal justice policy, risk management, public health, and advanced digital technologies.


The members of the group, here linked to their respective pages in the LUCRIS research portal.

Ida Nafstad, Coordinator

Amin Parsa, Coordinator

Linnea Wegerstad, Coordinator

Malin Arvidsson

Jens Rennstam

Niklas Selberg

Maria Wemrell

David Wästerfors