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Friday, September 08, 2017

Thanks for inviting me

Belated thanks to the PrawfsBlawg team for inviting me back again. There are a few topics I plan to discuss this month: "procedural justice"; the concept of the police and the nature of policing; and how all this relates to questions of race and social justice. I've been doing some work recently on "procedural justice", and my simple claim is that the sociological concept of that name need not be procedurally just to count as "procedural justice." That is, conduct that fits the sociological category "procedural justice" can be (normatively or morally) procedurally unjust—as well, of course, as distributively and correctively unjust as well. That's because the sociological theory is not a theory of justice, but of what makes for effective psychological coercion. Whether psychological coercion is effective is, of course, a different question from whether it is just or not. I hope then to turn to the question of the concept of the police (which is importantly different from the concept of policing). What is the nature of the public or state institution, "the police?" What is it that the police in America do? Should the stuff they do (and their self conception of what they do) drive our concept of what they are? Do we place the police in morally untenable positions, given the nature of their current job and our society? This last question is particularly a problem for societies in which there are fundamental issues of social justice, including issues of race, class, and gender. If we give the police credit for engaging in non-violent psychological coercion of the folks they encounter, are we given them—and ourselves—too much credit for promoting "just" policing. An ambitious agenda, I know, for a month of blogging. We'll see how it goes.

Posted by Eric Miller on September 8, 2017 at 03:25 PM | Permalink

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