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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Government properties: the Nigeria police force as total institution?
Author:Owen, OllyISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Nigeria
State-society relationship
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972015000790
Abstract:This article looks at the relationships between Nigerian police officers and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in which they serve. Against simplistic portraits of police institutions as mechanistic agents of governmental power, the article looks inside one such institution to examine how it exercises power over its own personnel, in a totalizing institutional project which combines duty and identity within a hierarchical and paramilitarized structure. Police officers are caught between their embodying of state authority and their lack of authority within their own institution. At the same time, it depicts individual officers' attempts to navigate this structure to their own advantage, creating a counter-current within the institutional world. Both ultimately affect the way in which the NPF exercises its powers within wider society. According to this perspective, the violence and corruption, negligence and evasion that often typify interactions with the police may be less signs of police officers' power than of their attempts to cope with the lack of it. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]