The Right to Remain Silent: Self-Monitoring and the Experience of Inequality During Traffic Stops in the U.S. South
Monday, December 3, 2018
Roosevelt House, 47-49 E 65th St, New York
The Anthropology Section
What impact do knowledge of police discretion and the potential for the escalation of violence have upon the communication and expression of subjects during police-initiated traffic stops? Drawing on fieldwork in a mid-size Southern city, interviews with subjects of stops, and analysis of dash-cam and body-cam video, we highlight the different fears, concerns, and knowledges that impact how subjects of traffic stops manage their speech and body language in order to avoid being interpreted as threatening or non-compliant. Interviews with differently raced and gendered subjects of police-initiated stops describe the multiple frameworks that influence their expressive decisions, from media-circulated news of shootings between police and subjects, their knowledge of their legal rights, to their past experiences of being stopped by law enforcement officials.
While the knowledge of subject's rights during a police-initiated stop is not equally distributed, in cases where subjects do know their rights, interviews reveal how subjects experience the responses to expressing their right to remain silent as non-compliance or refusal. Here, pressures toward compliance may implicitly work against subject's rights. Ultimately, a systemic analysis of these patterns of self-monitoring suggests how racial and gendered inequalities in charges and arrests emerge and become reproduced in the context of routine police stops. The presentation concludes by connecting these findings to global issues related to self-monitoring and the production of silences in reproducing inequality.
Location: Roosevelt House, 47-49 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065
A dinner and wine reception will precede the talk. Buffet dinner begins at 5:45 PM. ($20 contribution for dinner guests/free for students).
Lectures begin at 6:30 PM and are free and open to the public, but registration is required.