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Creating Consent in an Illiberal Order
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  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: June 2022
  • Print publication year: 2022
  • Online ISBN: 9781009105781
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Book description

Middle Eastern police forces have a reputation for carrying out repression and surveillance on behalf of authoritarian regimes, despite frequently under enforcing the law. But what is their role in co-creating and sustaining social order? In this book, Jessica Watkins focuses on the development of the Jordanian police institution to demonstrate that rather than being primarily concerned with law enforcement, the police are first and foremost concerned with order. In Jordan, social order combines the influence of longstanding tribal practices with regime efforts to promote neoliberal economic policies alongside a sense of civic duty amongst citizens. Rather than focusing on the 'high policing' of offences deemed to threaten state security, Watkins explores the 'low policing' of interpersonal disputes including assault, theft, murder, traffic accidents, and domestic abuse to shed light on the varied strategies of power deployed by the police alongside other societal actors to procure hegemonic 'consent'.


‘Jessica Watkins unparalleled study of policing in Jordan provides both a tremendous amount of new empirical material as well as theoretical grist for understanding the production and maintenance of social order. While this book is a must read for Jordan studies, its compelling theoretical contributions should not be missed by those interested in the production of social order.’

Jillian Schwedler - Hunter College

‘In authoritarian states, the practices of everyday policing are too often ignored in favor of elite politics. No more: Watkins’ brilliant study of Jordan shows how law, order, and consent come together to shape the rhythms of ordinary social life. This is an impressive feat.’

Sean Yom - Temple University


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