Queer Histories and the Politics of Policing: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Queer Histories and the Politics of Policing

1st Edition

By Emma K. Russell


184 pages

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Hardback: 9780815354901
pub: 2019-08-28
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Despite ongoing challenges to the criminalisation and surveillance of queer lives, police leaders are now promoted as allies and defenders of LGBT rights. However, in this book, Emma K Russell argues that the surface inclusion of select LGBT identities in the protective aspirations of the law is deeply tenuous and conditional, and that police recognition is both premised upon and reproductive of an imaginary of "good queer citizens"—those who are respectable, responsible, and "just like" their heterosexual counterparts.

Based on original empirical research, Russell presents a detailed analysis of the political complexities, compromises, and investments that underpin LGBT efforts to achieve sexual rights and protections. With an historical trajectory that spans the so-called "decriminalisation" era to the present day, she shows how LGBT activists have both resisted and embraced police incursions into queer space, and how—with LGBT support—police leaders have recrafted histories of violence as stories of institutional progress.

Queer Histories and the Politics of Policing advances broader understandings of the nature of police power and the shifting terrain of sexual citizenship. It will be of interest to students and researchers of criminology, sociology, and law engaged in studies of policing, social justice, gender and sexuality, and socio-legal studies.


"In this pioneering book, Emma K Russell offers a seeping yet nuanced history of the relationship between police and LGBT communities. Merging rich archival and interview research with sophisticated theoretical material, the book breathes fresh life into debates about the tensions between sexual citizenship, criminality, identity, and state authority. It is essential reading for scholars and students in criminology, queer studies, policing, and history."

Gail Mason, Professor of Criminology, University of Sydney, Australia

"Through a detailed analysis of historic queer moments, Queer Histories and the Politics of Policing maps the carceral investments that shape "good queer citizenship". The book is fluid, compelling, and accessible."

Erica R Meiners, Bernard J. Brommel Distinguished Research Professor, Northeastern Illinois University, USA

"A must read—not only for those who are interested in the shifting terrain of sexual politics and policing in Australia, but also for those who want to understand what is at stake in broader trends in "diversity" policing. A richly textured and politically incisive account. Critical queer interdisciplinary scholarship at its best."

Sarah Lamble, Reader in Criminology & Queer Theory, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Queer histories and the politics of policing; 2. Policing the colony: The uneven histories of queer criminalisation; 3. Over-policing and the production of good queer victims: The Tasty nightclub raid; 4. ‘We don’t just want a piece of the pie; we want a whole new pie’: Gay pride, pink dollars, and queer anti-capitalism; 5. A new ‘feeling force’: The police commissioner goes to pride march; 6. Arresting ‘hate’: Queer penalities and the take-up of a crime paradigm; 7. The fabrication of queer history: Narrating the police apology; 8. Afterword: Redrawing the boundaries of exclusion

About the Author

Emma K. Russell is Lecturer in Crime, Justice and Legal Studies at La Trobe University, Australia. She researches in the fields of queer criminology and critical carceral studies. She is the co-author of Resisting Carceral Violence: Women’s Imprisonment and the Politics of Abolition (2018).

About the Series

Queering Criminology and Criminal Justice

Research into the criminal justice experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people has grown significantly in recent years, particularly under the label of ‘Queer Criminology’. Criminologists and criminal justice scholars are increasingly responding to the historical exclusion of LGBTQ+ people and their lack of representation in criminal justice studies and policies.

This series explores LGBTQ+ issues in relation to crime, criminology, and criminal justice, including: LGBTQ+ victimisation and offending; theoretical and conceptual developments required to ensure criminology better represents LGBTQ+ people; and studies into the experiences of LGBTQ+ people in relation to criminal justice agents, institutions, and practices.

Queering Criminology and Criminal Justice will serve as a focal point around which the field of queer criminology can develop and will allow for a diverse array of researchers globally (including those from the global South) to discuss a variety of criminological topics. It also aims to reinforce the importance of queer and intersectional critiques to criminology more broadly and act as a point of reference for criminologists outside of queer criminology, as well as criminal justice agents/LGBTQ+ service providers seeking to develop more inclusive, representative, and diverse understandings and practices.

We welcome book proposals that address any of these issues, or related topics, for an inclusive and interdisciplinary series. Please contact the Editor, Charlotte Endersby (Charlotte.Endersby@tandf.co.uk) to submit proposals.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Gender & the Law
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology