“Enforcing Order is an intriguing read, not least for what it reveals about the politics of law and order, and of policing, in France in recent times”
Tim Newburn, LSE, LSE Review of Books
"Powerful, distressing and thought-provoking. The book is based on 15 months of fieldwork, an undertaking unprecedented in France and one that, as the difficulties of access Fassin encountered suggest, will not be conducted again for some time."
Times Higher Education
"Fassin’s book – the most significant contribution to the public anthropology of policing – has opened up space to discuss the unresolved tension underlying the contemporary state, that between providing security and protecting human rights."
"Fassin has written a brilliant example of public anthropology. This ethnography of the anti-crime squads of the French police powerfully captures the institutionalization of racism and violence against poor youth and immigrants. His book must reach the widest possible audience because these paramilitaries operating out of sight of the general public with the complicity of politicians, career bureaucrats and the courts must be dismantled."
Philippe Bourgois, University of Pennsylvania
"This vivid description of the daily routines of police squads operating in under-privileged Parisian suburbs reinstates ethnography as a powerful tool for revealing how social exclusion works. By bringing to life, from the point of view of its officers, how the police consolidates social hierarchies, Fassin reminds us eloquently that the behavior of its police forces is the best index of the state of a democracy."
Philippe Descola, Collège de France
"A fascinating read – a brilliant, deep plunge into the lives, routines, racial tensions, sometimes violence, and intricate moral reasoning of the police officers in an anti-crime brigade in the French banlieues during a heated time of rioting in Paris. It blends a subtle analysis of the moral economy of the police with rigorous ethnographic detail and a genuine honesty or transparency on Didier Fassin’s part. It is a very important contribution to our understanding of police practices in this new age of security."
Bernard Harcourt, University of Chicago
About the Author
Didier Fassin is James D. Wolfensohn Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His previous works include The Empire of Trauma
and When Bodies Remember