Policing the Possible: Governing Potential Criminality

An event hosted by LSE Cities

This workshop examined the problem of crime in cities, focusing particularly on the role of public and private security forces in controlling potential criminality. The discussion highlighted the cultural and political processes of imagining and predicting the emergence of future crimes and criminals, and the various technologies used for prevention. How the lived experience of contemporary cities is shaped by these initiatives is a question that will be explored critically across a range of urban locations.

The Urban Uncertainty workshop series is an integral part of LSE Cities’ collaborative investigation into emerging ways of envisioning and governing the future of cities. Each session focuses on a different dimension of urban uncertainty, from health and housing to crime and climate, and brings together scholars from a handful of disciplines whose work converges on common themes.

Event materials


    Pete Fussey

    Pete Fussey is Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex. His research focuses on security, social control, organised crime and the city. Professor Fussey currently works on two large-scale ESRC and EPSRC funded research projects looking at counter-terrorism in the UK’s crowded spaces and at urban resilience. Recent books include Securing and Sustaining the Olympic City (Ashgate) and Terrorism and the Olympics (Routledge).

    Rivke Jaffe

    Rivke Jaffe is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her anthropological research focuses primarily on intersections of the urban and the political. She is currently starting a five-year research program on public-private security assemblages in Kingston, Jerusalem, Miami, Nairobi and Recife.

    Gareth Jones

    Gareth Jones is Professor of Urban Geography at LSE. He has conducted research on both practices and representation of urban space in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, India, Ghana and South Africa. He has most recently edited (with Dennis Rodgers) Youth Violence in Latin America: Gangs and Juvenile Justice in Perspective and soon to come is a co-authored book entitled Bringing Youth into Development. His recent ethnographic work has been with street youth in Mexico

    Robert Samet

    Robert Samet is Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research focuses on law, crime, and forms of political representation in the Americas, with a special emphasis on Venezuela. Currently, he is revising a manuscript based on two years of ethnographic field research on crime journalism in Caracas, and beginning a new project on the political economy of urban security in Latin America.

    Jonny Steinberg

    Jonny Steinberg is Lecturer in the Criminology of Africa at Oxford University. He is the author of several books about everyday life in the wake of South Africa’s transition to democracy including Midlands, about the murder of a white South African farmer, The Number, a biography of a prison gangster, and Three-Letter Plague, which chronicles a young man’s journey through South Africa’s AIDS pandemic.