Civilian policing, socialist revolution, and violent pluralism in venezuela
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In this dissertation I look at contemporary problems of policing in violent contexts and state actors attempts to resolve these through democratic means. I document the implementation of a democratic police reform in Caracas, Venezuela and analyze public support for militarized policing in poor urban areas and the corrosive impacts violence and inequality can have on human rights and citizen participation. Findings are based on three sources of data. I conducted two years of participant observation in Caracas with police officers; reformers working in state security institutions; residents of marginal sectors of the city, who bare the brunt of state and non-state violence; and citizens participating in police oversight committees. During this time I conducted 105 interviews with individuals from these populations. And, from 2013 to 2014 I added questions to four national surveys, which asked respondents about their opinions of crime and security. My findings show how social and economic marginalization, race and gender, increasing lateral violence, and political ideology shaped the ways in which poor people and police officers responded to reform. By analyzing reform as an interactive process that is shaped by the politics and economics of an urban environment I not only explain why key tenets of democratic police reform do not make sense to many on the ground, but also show that reform can entrench support for the beliefs and practices that reformers sets out to change.