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The Past is the Past? The Impossibility of Erasure of Historical LGBTIQ Policing


Dwyer, AE and Tomsen, S, The Past is the Past? The Impossibility of Erasure of Historical LGBTIQ Policing, Queering Criminology, Palgrave MacMillan, Dwyer, Angela E., Ball, Matthew J., & Crofts, Thomas (ed), Basingstoke, UK, pp. 36-53. ISBN 9781137513335 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Selection, introduction, and editorial matter Angela Dwyer, Matthew Ball, and Thomas Crofts; individual chapters, respective authors

DOI: doi:10.1057/9781137513342_3


This paper considers the impossibility of erasing historical policing of LGBTIQ people. Significant events of LGBTIQ policing may appear to fade into the past and we perhaps assume they literally disappear – not discussed, not thought about, and erased from cultural memory. At times we see evidence of an almost nostalgic contemplation about LGBTIQ policing of the past embedded in the notion that we have moved beyond that point to the future, never to return to those histories. If we draw on the work of Foucault, an impossibility becomes apparent. Foucault suggests that discursive traces circulate in discourse and they emerge and re-emerge to shape future discourses. This paper ruminates on a case example, particularly the policing of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia, in 2013. We argue this case demonstrates Foucault’s understanding of discursive history in action: it shows how the remnant traces of historical LGBTIQ policing can re-emerge to profoundly shape LGBTIQ-police relations in the present. In addition to the case, we draw on qualitative data showing how ideas about historical LGBTIQ policing are rehearsed in a consistent cycle of iteration and reiteration through the musings of research participants across three different projects on LGBTIQ policing. We conclude therefore that LGBTIQ policing in the past may never be erased because moments reminiscent of historical LGBTIQ policing are always already circulating and undermining the governmental work of policing organisations in the present.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:LGBTIQ, policing, history, Mardi Gras
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Criminology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Criminal justice
UTAS Author:Dwyer, AE (Dr Angela Dwyer)
ID Code:107041
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2016-03-03
Last Modified:2017-10-05

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