Project

Back to overview

Localizing International Security Sector Reform: A Micro-Sociology of Policing in Urban Congo

Applicant Perazzone Stéphanie
Number 181547
Funding scheme Early Postdoc.Mobility
Research institution Institute of Development Policy University of Antwerp
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.07.2019 - 31.12.2020
Show all

All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Political science
Sociology

Keywords (7)

Visual Methods; International Post-Conflict Intervention; Police-Citizen Relations; Micro-sociology; Democratic Republic of Congo; Security Sector Reform (SSR); Ethnography

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Comment comprendre l'échec des programmes SSR de l'Union Européenne en République Démocratique du Congo et la réalité des relations citoyens-police dans un Etat en recherche constante d'existence ?
Lay summary
Les réformes du secteur de la sécurité dans les pays en situation de (post-)conflit, sont devenues l'un des outils les plus utilisés par la communauté internationale pour rétablir la paix et renforcer les relations police-citoyens, au travers notamment, du respect de l'Etat de droit. Dans ce but, entre 2007 et 2014 en République Démocratique du Congo, la mission de police de l'Union Européenne (EUPOL RDC) a appuyé le Ministère de l'intérieur dans sa réforme de la Police Nationale Congolaise, un programme dont les résultats ont été très mitigés. Alors que de nombreux travaux ont étudié les dysfonctionnements du programme d'EUPOL RDC au travers d'un prisme conceptuel concentré sur les logiques organisationnelles de l'Union Européenne, ce projet propose d'en comprendre les limites par une micro-sociologie des pratiques quotidiennes du travail de police à Kinshasa, capitale de la République Démocratique du Congo.

En effet l'un des projets ainsi mis en place  par EUPOL aura permis de former et équiper quelques unités de Police de Proximité à Kinshasa. En adoptant une approche méthodologique ethnographique et visuelle, ce projet cherche donc à analyser les micro-pratiques de ces unités de police de proximité, placées en porte à faux entre un idéal discursif d'Etat de droit et de bonne gouvernance, et les expériences réelles de la vie quotidienne ancrées à la fois dans des réseaux complexes de solidarités et de rituels collectifs, et dans un contexte socio-historique global de violence d'Etat et de brutalités policières. 
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 17.05.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Abstract

The project 'Localizing International Security Sector Reform: A Micro-sociology of Policing in Urban Congo' will propose to take on a critical outlook on the EU Police Reform (EUPOL) implemented in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 2007 to 2014. Based on the existing specialized, literature and previously - but partial and under-exploited - collected data in Kinshasa from 2014 and 2016, this research argues EUPOL (and its international personnel) might have failed to ensure a truly ‘locally-owned’ program because of the enduring theoretical and empirical assumptions found within many international interventionist schemes that tend to privilege an understanding of the (Weberian, western) state from a formal, institutional angle that does not reflect the real 'life-world' of security governance and policing in the DRC and other societies in the global south. This in turn demonstrates the 'state', and by the same token, governance, is not a pre-existing apparatus existing 'out there' but is instead a performative and ideational process constituted by all of us and deeply entrenched within a large array of ordinary, private and public societal actors. In so doing, this project thus proposes to investigate the everyday texture of police-citizen relationships in Kinshasa (DRC) via ethnographic and other qualitative methodological tools while exploring the rhetorics, values and practices EUPOL has employed to design and implement its project. This is done so as to move beyond the habitually either top-down or bottom-up approaches of externally-led intervention that seldom begin from the intellectual premises that both macro and micro levels of authority are mutually constituted and that the public sphere of state action is co and re-produced by private citizens, interpersonal relations and intimate interactions: in other words, the public is private.From this, this research project will be presenting a micro-sociology of policing and unearth the everyday practices and broader interactions and meaning-making processes of police-citizen relations while theorizing further security governance, and in broader terms, ‘the state’, as a heterogeneous ensemble of agencies and connections whose ramifications run beyond traditional scalar understandings of social relations (international/national/local) and the limitative dichotomies that still qualify much of contemporary state theory (formal/informal, public/private, modern/traditional etc). Overall, the project will thus aim to A) provide a fine-grained analysis of the daily micro-practices and extended interactions shaping the relationships between low-level police officers and ordinary urbanites and, B) against this background, analyze the conceptual and programmatic gaps that have pervaded EUPOL’s attempts at reforming the Congo’s National Police. This project thus has both practical and theoretical concerns in mind. It hopes to offer three key contributions to the fields of IR, Political Sciences and other related fields: 1) offer empirical expertise on the performative and ideational dimensions of security governance in urban DRC, 2) present an innovative critical approach to transnational conceptualizations of governance in fragile states and beyond, and 3) provide new knowledge and practical avenues to policy-makers engaging in future SSR programming in non-western environments.
-