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Mean Streets. Interactions Between Police and Migrants

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Police, Politics and the Immigration-Crime Nexus
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This chapter presents the interactions between police and migrants in the scope of the City of Buenos Aires. In particular, I highlight five interpretations according to which the interviewees describe a different police action depending on whether it is an Argentine or foreign person: ignorance of the “other”, racism and xenophobia, lack of communication, sharing the workplace on the streets with the police (which would give a greater margin for them to “collide” each other) and having an accent that is perceived diverse from the Argentine. By focusing on the spatial dimension, the testimonies empirically support the premise that the police institution contributes to the reproduction and maintenance of a certain social order, but above all, a spatial order that defines both inclusions and exclusions from certain zones of the city as well as displacements and borders.

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  1. 1.

    I replaced the names of the people interviewed with fantasy names, to maintain the confidentiality of anonymity.

  2. 2.

    The same interviewee highlighted that a particular media outlet reproduced this idea, stating “that everyone has strength, that they were all ex-military or bodyguards, or are trained, or have a lot of strength”, justifying that the police go in groups in order to exert direct force towards them.

  3. 3.

    Along with racial prejudice, other characteristics are mission-action-cynicism-pessimism, suspicion, isolation/solidarity, police conservatism, machismo and pragmatism.

  4. 4.

    Once is the usual name of the Balvanera neighborhood in popular jargon.


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Correspondence to Federico Luis Abiuso .

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Abiuso, F.L. (2023). Mean Streets. Interactions Between Police and Migrants. In: Police, Politics and the Immigration-Crime Nexus. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-46378-5

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