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Michelle Stewart


Research Focus: Anthropology of Policing, Security Studies, Actuarial Justice & Threat-based Policing, Police Training, Care & Prevention, Crime, Youth, Visual Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies

Michelle completed her dissertation in June 2011.


Dissertation Title: "Subjects of Prevention: Risk Threat and Anticipation in Canadian Policing"


Abstract: Contemporary policing practices focuses on the use of crime and risk analysis tools that are facilitating profound changes in the ways in which police and citizens understand risk and criminality. This ethnography investigated the ways in which new policing policy and practice act to reshape relationships between police and public and, in turn, reformulate definitions and expectations of: police officers, community members, crime and criminality. Based on fifteen months of sustained ethnographic research with police officers in Canada, this dissertation pulls together experiences of police officers and police trainers, as well as crime analysts, academics, and community members, to present a text as much about police work as it is about reckoning, reconciliation, and punishment within the therapeutic state. To capture the ways in which policing is brought about through particular practices in certain settings—how policing is enacted—this dissertation moves between various police settings. In so doing, it offers a glimpse into the policing milieu in Canada and argues that a novel type of policing practice, threat-based policing, has emerged. This form of policing relies strongly on anticipatory practices as it enrolls police into what is offered as a new and highly targeted form of police practice. Building on the anthropology of police and crime along with risk theory and security studies literatures, this dissertation focuses on specific crime prevention and reduction programs many of which rely on collaborations between community, police and social service agencies. Often contentious, these forms of policing come with ongoing training regimes to condition police and residents to become collaborating subjects of crime prevention. To understand police work and the daily tasks of governance speaks to contemporary statecraft. This project investigates state craft in crisis and the emerging policing practices therein. 


Current appointment:  Michelle is now an Assistant Professor teaching Social Justice in the Department of Justice Studies at the University of Regina. She can be contacted at:


Future Research:  Her future research project will continue to investigate risk and prevention regimes by focusing on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and the practices associated to diagnosis and management. The goal is to understand how these tools are used in particular settings and how these applications influence the ways in which FASD is understood when situated into particular communities of practice.

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