Dr P. Mutsaers (Paul)
Assistant professor - Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies
Assistant professor - Radboud Social Cultural Research
Thomas van Aquinostraat 4
6525 GD NIJMEGEN
6500 HE NIJMEGEN
In addition to the specific projects described below, with key terms such as ethnic profiling, restorative justice, youth justice, and parenting, I have been working on an anthropology of police since 2008. Throughout the years I have always returned, time permitting, to questions about the social function and dysfunction of police.
My dissertation research culminated in the book Police Unlimited (OUP, 2019) in which one particular dysfunction was addressed: discriminatory policing, both within police agencies themselves and 'out there' on the streets. This police ethnography was followed by a series of digital ethnographies in which I tried to figure out how citizens responded, both in "tweets and the streets", to the socially divisive effects of policing. Under the Protesting Police rubric, these ethnographies led to book chapters on anti-police protests in the USA and the Netherlands, published in the Routledge books Cultural Practices of Victimhood (2019) and The Anthropology of Police (2018).
My current focus has shifted to the risks of predictive policing through algorithms. A forthcoming publication with Manchester University Press is looking into the social origins of big data policing, which is often clouded in mystery and obscurantist language, as well as into its future paths. These paths are further scrutinized in a PhD project on the Dutch Crime Anticipation System, which is co-supervised by CAOS and Radboud's iHub.
- Mutsaers, P. (2019) Police Unlimited: Policing, Migrants and the Values of Bureaucracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Full text
- Mutsaers, P. and Meijeren, M. (2023) Triangulation and violence in the Caribbean: Crimes retold from a Curaçaoan juvenile detention centre. Ethnography. Online first. Full text
- Mutsaers, P and Van Nuenen, T. (2023) Predictively policed:The Dutch CAS case and its forerunners. In: Beek, J., Bierschenk, T., Kolloch, A. and Meyer, B. (eds.) Policing Race, Ethnicity and Culture: Ethnographic Perspectives from Europe, pp. 72-94.Manchester: Manchester University Press. Full text
- Mutsaers, P. (2023) Decolonising youth justice, rethinking childhood: Caribbean Counterstories in detention. Youth Justice. Online first. Full text
- Mutsaers, P. and de Vries, S. (2023) Maroon justice in Suriname: Pasts and presents worth fighting for. Contemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social and Restorative Justice. Online first Full text
- 2023 - 2028 In this project on "Restorative Youth Justice in Suriname", carried out by PhD candidate Sabine de Vries (with an NWO grant), we look at juvenile delinquency as the upshot of childhood adversity, which renders a punitive approach problematic. In search for alternative forms of justice, we combine historical and ethnographic studies in Suriname, which has a centuries-old history of restorative justice in its interior rainforest, where formerly enslaved runaways (Maroons) developed their own legal systems. Together, these studies answer the research question: What historical and contemporary resources may empower Surinamese youth of various ethnicities in Paramaribo to settle disputes and respond to law-breaking, and how may these help charting a new course for youth justice primarily focused on restoration and healing?
- 2022 - 2027 Every society appears to have a moral panic attack every now and then in response to youth cultures that index the disintegration of social order. The current panic concerns drillrap, a music genre that is often linked to an (online) culture of violence. The political wind right now is one of repression and criminalization of drill. In the ethnographic PhD project "Towards a Pedagogy of Drillrap: Music, Identity and Resilience in Youth Detention?", which is financed by NWO and carried out by Sylvia Sanders, the focus lies on the complex pedagogical relationship between drillrap, crime, identity and resilience in juvenile detention, where drill is studied as something artistic and policed.
- 2022 - 2027 Predictive policing tools such as the Crime Anticipation System (CAS) have proliferated in the last two decades in response to louder calls for more effective and objective policing. Such tools allow for automated predictions about who will commit a crime or when and where crimes will occur. Predictive policing has been embraced as a step towards forward-looking crime prevention, but it has also been criticized for its potential discriminatory effects in both design and application. In this multidisciplinary PhD project (by Pieke de Beus) we ask questions such as: How is CAS designed to work and how does it work as a (cultural) system in practice? Do the design and application of CAS bring risks of discrimination? Does current regulation sufficiently protect people against such risks? What legal and technical interventions are possible to mitigate the risk of discrimination? Using simulations, can we predict what long-term effects of such predictive systems are? More information
- 2022 - 2023 A research team of Radboud University and Leiden University led by Masja van Meeteren (Radboud/Leiden), Paul Mutsaers (Radboud) and Maartje van der Woude (Leiden) is conducting a systematic literature review of international publications on ethnic profiling by the police. The study was requested by the Directorate-General for the Police and Safety Regions (DGPenV). The literature review must result in a state-of-the-art overview of the nature and extent of ethnic profiling and what police organizations can do to counter it. Other team members are: Joanne van der Leun (Leiden), Ieke de Vries (Leiden), Ashley Terlouw (Radboud), Renze Salet (Radboud) and Nadia Hageman (Radboud). More information
- 2019 - 2024 Parenting has become a moralized affair in many Western societies. A dominant cultural discourse, intensive parenting culture (IPC), is presented to parents by politicians, law, media and experts. IPC is associated with the rise of parental anxiety, but is also negotiated by parents in various ways. IPC-literature has contributed to our understanding of parenting today, but a bias remains due to disproportional attention to white middle-class families. Through online and offline ethnography, this PhD project (carried out by Alex Schenkels with an NWO grant) depicts the ways in which an upcoming generation of middle-class Muslim parents experiences and ‘re-writes’ IPC on the nexus of class, ethnicity and religion. More information