In 2007, Jonny Steinberg spent several months accompanying police patrols in Johannesburg townships to conduct an ethnographic study of the emerging relationship between democratic South Africa’s police officers and its citizens. He argues that a democratic citizenry is policed only to the extent that it consents to be, and that South Africans have yet to give their full consent to being policed. The democratic state is in a sense half-formed, according to Steinberg; there are grey zones in cities where state institutions are sucked into a logic that long precedes democracy.
This talk focused on the controversial police practice of “stop-and-search” and the broader lessons for criminal justice reforms in emerging democracies.
Open Society Fellow Jonny Steinberg is a South African writer, journalist, and policy analyst. Herb Sturz, senior adviser at the Open Society Institute, also participated in the discussion.
Stephen Hubbell, communications officer for the Open Society Fellowship, introduced the event.