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Tuesday, July 2 • 11:00am - 11:40am
The specialization codes of law and order

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The use of police force in restoring law and order is the theme of this paper; the language that surrounds the legal use of force is its object of study. The question we address is: to what extent is the lack of professional training of police forces a culprit in the disappearance of 43 students participating in protest activities?

As we address this question, we draw on Legitimation Code Theory, particularly specialization codes, in order to calibrate the relations of power and prestige of the armed forces in a country such as Mexico. In mapping the specialization codes of armed forces in the context of a developing country, we focus on a specific instance of their realization: during the confluence of social demands concerning education, extreme use of force, and ensuing disappearance of 43 students from the teacher college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero in the year 2014.

Samples of specialization codes used by members of the police, which were made public during the investigation of this event, are examined in the light of SFL lexical-grammar analysis in order to examine the linguistic resources employed as they engaged in their professional practice. We also draw on Critical Discourse Analysis to trace the discursive practices of institutions in charge of training and hiring members of the police force as well as institutions that oversee their professional practices, such as the Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos –CIDH.

This work is part of ongoing research concerning conflicts and contradictions in public education policies in Mexico. On this occasion however, we report on this event by virtue of expected changes in national policy concerning the use of armed forces in the control of violence. This study will hopefully provide grounds for the claim that education and law enforcement share misguided notions of discipline. The underlying contradiction between the force of law to maintain order and the force of education to transform is in the core of the asymmetrical power relations in this country which is reputedly in the process of development. As final outcome, we hope for the advancement of social justice through knowledge-building, as it concerns the social practice of violence for the sake of order.

Tuesday July 2, 2019 11:00am - 11:40am SAST
Room B48

Attendees (3)