Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2023


Popular debates over policing often revolve around spectacular forms of police violence that grab national media attention. In this study, I examine the everydayness of contemporary U.S. policing and the antiblack and colonial roots that sustains its many forms. Drawing on three years of ethnographic fieldwork with a grassroots abolitionist organization and homeless service provider, and 23 interviews with Black adults across the U.S., I show how mundane policing serves as sites of racialization where the category of human is contested. I offer stops as an analytic to observe how these mundane forms of policing occur in places such as schools, airports, and neighborhoods. I argue that due to the pervasiveness of the U.S. carceral state in the daily lives of everyone that it touches, policing—within and beyond the criminal legal system—has become one of the major mechanisms of stratification that differentiates people into humans and nonhumans. These findings point to the need to abolish policing and punishment in all its varied forms.

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Level of Degree


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First Committee Member (Chair)

Ranita Ray

Second Committee Member

Georgiann Davis

Third Committee Member

Susila Gurusami

Fourth Committee Member

Vilna Bashi

Project Sponsors

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, The Society for the Study of Social Problems Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Fellowship


Stops, policing, antiblackness, human, race, colonialism, empire



Document Type


Available for download on Friday, August 01, 2025