Disciplining the non-disciplinary spaces, the rise of policing as an aspect of governmentality in 19th century eugene, oregon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The history of policing has been typically written through a conservative, liberal-progressive or instrumentalist Marxist lens. The insights of poststructuralism have been slow to penetrate our understanding of law enforcement history. This paper attempts to move towards a poststructuralist analysis of the rise of policing in the town of Eugene, Oregon (USA). It begins with an analysis of the relationship between policing and what Foucault has called carceral institutions (prisons, insane asylums, schools, reform schools, etc.). These institutions constitute disciplinary spaces. The bulk of the paper examines the manner in which police were involved in the management of social life outside of these disciplinary spaces. These attempts to discipline the non-disciplinary spaces formed an integral part of local government practice. Of central importance here was the deployment of governmental power through the construction, elaboration and circulation of disciplinary discourses. Police played a pivotal role here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-115
Number of pages27
JournalPolicing and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 1991



  • Disciplinary discourses
  • Governmentality
  • Policing
  • Policing history
  • Poststructuralism
  • Power relations
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

Cite this