Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Contribution to conference
Police researchers often speak about police ‘patrolling the boundaries of belonging’, however the dynamics of this process are rarely closely examined. Similarly, social researchers exploring questions of integration and identity have generally studied the social and economic factors that influence belonging without considering the impact of encounters with authorities. This paper, based on a qualitative study conducted with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in south-east Melbourne, connects these fields of inquiry by exploring the impact of contact with police on young people’s personal perceptions of belonging, and relates these encounters to forms of internal bordering. Participants in the study were predominantly from Pasifika and South Sudanese Australian backgrounds. They were asked in focus groups to discuss their experiences with police, both positive and negative and report how those encounters made them feel. The study revealed a number of ways in which police enforce, reproduce and sometimes contest the dynamically changing boundaries of belonging at the levels of governance, politics and individual emotions, contributing to what Mezzadra and Neilson have called ‘an excess of inclusion over belonging’.