Alexandria Digital Research Library

Policing the Wretched : Transnational Apparatuses of Social Control in the Early 21st Century

Osuna, Steven
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Sociology
Degree Supervisor:
William I. Robinson
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Sociology and Ethnic studies
Global capitalism
Social control
Hip hop
Moral panic
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2015

Policing the Wretched examines the transnationalization of systems of racism, class exploitation, criminalization, militarized policing, and social control throughout North and Central America in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. It provides a sociological, historical, and materialist analysis of the militarization of the Los Angeles Police Department, the policing of youth and surplus labor populations in El Salvador, the so-called "war on drugs" in Mexico, and the emergence of hip hop as a cultural form of expression in the heavily policed Pico Union district of Los Angeles to conceptualize what I call "transnational apparatuses of social control". It demonstrates that during the epoch of global capitalism, repressive nation-state apparatuses have taken transnational dimensions. It shows that these forms of social control should be understood alongside neoliberal policies such as structural adjustments programs (SAPs) and free trade policies, and the proposed "wars" on drugs, crime, gangs, terrorism, and anti-migrant policies in this region. It illustrates that the transnationalization of social control emerged as a response to social and economic crises that have developed from neoliberalism, racial and social inequality, and the emergence of grassroots social movements.

While remaining attentive to the repressive apparatuses of social control in a transnational context, Policing the Wretched also examines how social movements in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and San Salvador have contested neoliberal policies, security initiatives, and militarization. Through interviews, participant observations, and archival research (government documents, congressional reports, and studies; presidential addresses; media sources and journalist accounts; and non-governmental literature, studies, and research) spanning three countries, the project traces the ways in which social movements in the U.S., Mexico, and El Salvador have mobilized and waged a relentless struggle over hegemony that provides an alternative social warrant that places democracy over securitization and human rights over property rights. It concludes by showing how hip hop in Los Angeles delineates acritique of transnational social control and a culture of resistance. The three different sites (Los Angeles, Mexico City, and San Salvador) exemplify the linkages of transnational methods of social control and opposition during the epoch of global capitalism.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (324 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Steven Osuna
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