HomePolice Intelligence, from Local to Global. From 1750 to the Present-Day

HomePolice Intelligence, from Local to Global. From 1750 to the Present-Day

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Published on Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Abstract

The aim of this conference is to take a look at police intelligence, to highlight its specific characteristics and its role in the work of law enforcement agencies. It will thus aim to present new developments and consider new approaches in the history of the administrative management of information and, above all, in the history of the police. The conference will also aim to address the questions of the production and use of police intelligence, of the parties and tools involved in its development, and of the content that feeds it. To highlight these changes in the contexts and uses of intelligence, the conference will consider a lengthy timeline, from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present day. Finally, it will take a resolutely comparative and transnational approach.

Announcement

Argument

Police and intelligence are two concepts that are intimately and invariably linked. From the police utopia of François-Jacques Guillotte (Mémoire sur la réformation de la police de France, soumis au roi en 1749, ed. by J. Seznec, Paris, Hermann, 1974) to the ‘Clearview AI’ affair or the use of facial recognition software based on illegal data by the Belgian police, police work has often been confused with the collection and processing of information. Compared to the latter, intelligence is defined by Sébastien Laurent as ‘an element of information theoretically enriched by verification and analysis’ and it contributes to the decision-making process. Despite its decisive role in the functioning of the state, the economy or international relations, intelligence has only been addressed within the framework of questions on surveillance, centralisation, bureaucratisation, the identification or use of information and communication technologies, the control of political radicalisation or even espionage. As a corollary of the inexorable growth of the state, and barely transcending the image, intelligence in the field of policing is often fantasised and has hence often been restricted to the practices of political police forces, willingly cultivating a culture of secrecy. Flies, snitches and spies have been the focus of the researchers’ preoccupations, with no real questioning of their role in the construction of administrative knowledge. Within this very fragmented historiography, intelligence in the context of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes has attracted most of the attention.

For the past twenty years, however, researchers have begun to explore the history of information, surveillance and control technologies, particularly in the wake of Michel Foucault’s work on the disciplinary society and security measures. It is only recently, however, that intelligence has emerged as the subject of a specific field of study, more focused on a historical anthropology approach, as evidenced by the work carried out in the field of ‘Intelligence Studies’. In this emerging historiography, the specific policing aspect of intelligence generally only appears as an aside to its military, diplomatic or economic functions. The aim of this conference is therefore to take a look at police intelligence, to highlight its specific characteristics and its role in the work of law enforcement agencies. It will thus aim to present new developments and consider new approaches in the history of the administrative management of information and, above all, in the history of the police.

The conference will also aim to address the questions, as yet little explored by historians, of the production and use of police intelligence, of the parties and tools involved in its development, and of the content that feeds it. To highlight these changes in the contexts and uses of intelligence, the conference will consider a lengthy timeline, from the middle of the eighteenth century, a period that saw the proliferation of modern police systems and the development of a transregional security culture geared to political surveillance, to the present day, a time of unprecedented use of information and communication technologies to the benefit of the police. Finally, it will take a resolutely comparative and transnational approach.

Practicalities

Participation is free of charge, but registration is required.

Please send an email before January 15th, 2024 with the subject “registration Police Intelligence conference” to antoine.renglet@uclouvain.be

Programme

Thursday, January 25 (Room P02)

9h00-9h15: Welcome coffee

9h15-9h30: Introduction

9h30-10h30: Knowledge and expertise (I)

Chair: Xavier Rousseaux, UCLouvain

  • Guus Meershoek (Twente University/Dutch Police Academy), Modernizing criminal investigation in Amsterdam. The emergence of the concept of modus operandi
  • Philippe Hebeisen (Université de Neuchâtel/Centre d’histoire du XIXe siècle, Paris 1-Sorbonne Université), Learning, using and transmitting (new) police techniques: Neuchâtel and Switzerland at the turn of the 20th Century

10h30-10h45: Coffee break

10h45-12h15: Knowledge and expertise (II)

Chair: Antoine Renglet, UCLouvain

  • Marco Cicchini (Université de Genève), Urban legibility and police intelligence during the Enlightenment: reassessing Guillotte
  • Andrew Brown (Independent Scholar), Who was British State built to notice? George Bakewell in Victorian England’s “Society of Strangers”
  • Amélie Gaillat (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick), The evolution of the use of informants as part of information gathering practices in France, England, and Ireland at the end of the 19th century

12h15-13h30: Lunch

13h30-15h00: Races, gender and sexualities

Chair: Nathalie Tousignant, UCLouvain

  • Catherine Denys (Université de Lille), « Noté de police » in the Île-de-France (Mauritius): Police Intelligence in the French Ancien Régime Colonial Context
  • Romain Jaouen (Science Po Paris, CHSP), Intelligence-led policing at the 20th century’s midpoint? The case of vice-squad work and homosexuality in Paris
  • Herbert Reinke, Reader’s Digest and Police Intelligence? The (Re-) Rise and Fall of Data Collections on “Gipsies” in the Federal Republic (early 1950s to 2000)

15h00-15h15: Coffee break

15h15-16h45: Mobilities and migrations

Chair: Margo De Koster, Ghent University

  • Torsten Feys (Flanders Marine Institute), Migrants without past or without future? International inquiries about newcomers’ antecedents 1860-1914
  • Sarah Frenking (Erfurt Universität), Border (Crossing) Intelligence. Practices and Perceptions of Police Inspectors at the French-German Border around 1900
  • Laura Di Fiore (Universita Degli Studi di Napoli), Following the Exiles. Police Intelligence in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in the 1850s.

Friday, January 26 (Room P61)

9h00-10h30: Imperial circulations and Imperial legacies

Chair: Xavier Rousseaux, UCLouvain

  • Arda Akinci (Universidad de Salamanca), Threats, Practices and Integration to the European Security Culture: The Modernization of Policing and Surveillance in the Ottoman Capital Istanbul during the Rein of Abdulhamid (1867-1909)
  • Maggie Freeman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), The Arab Legion and the Architecture of Policing in Jordan (1921-1946)
  • Laura M. Calkins (Texas Tech University), Beyond Breaking the Black Market: Rice Rationing in Postwar Singapore and the Internationalization of Police Intelligence Work

10h30-11h00: Coffee break

11h00-12h30: Political threats and political transitions

Chair: Nico Wouters, CegeSoma, Belgian State Archives

  • Jonathan Daly (University of Illinois at Chicago), Intelligence, the Russian Security Police, and the Threat of Revolution
  • Corneliu Pintilescu (George Baritiu History Institute of the Romanian Academy Cluj-Napoca), From Anarchist to communist Danger”: Policing the Radical Left and Developing the Transnational Collaboration of the Siguranţa (1908-1924)
  • Maïté Van Vyve (Ghent University), Bombs, Bullets, and Borders: Cooperation Between the Belgian Intelligence Services, Local Police and Russian Ochranka in Their Hunt for the Anarchist Abraham Hartenstein (1909)

12h30-13h45: Lunch

13h45-15h45: Techniques, administration and operational management

Chair: Michaël Amara, Belgian State Archives

  • Jonas Campion (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières), Information Sources or Intelligent Documents? Exploring the History of Policing in Twentieth Century Quebec Through Police Activity Reports
  • Anja Johansen (University of Dundee), Policing the police: Gathering, archiving and use of citizens’ complaints as intelligence for managerial knowledge in Berlin and Paris, 1890-1914
  • Hjørdis Birgitte Ellefsen (Norwegian Police University College) and Heidi Mork Lomell (University of Oslo), Intelligence policing before ILP? A Norwegian case study
  • Achilleas Fotakis (National and Kapostrian University of Athens), People, papers and statistical tables. Information sources in the Greek police forces, 19th-20th century

15h45-16h00: Coffee break

16h00-16h30: Conclusion, David Churchill (University of Leeds)

Organizing Commitee

  • Jonas Campion (Université du Québec à Trois Rivières)
  • Margo De Koster (Universiteit Gent)
  • Antoine Renglet (UCLouvain)
  • Xavier Rousseaux (FNRS / UCLouvain)

Scientific Committee

  • Michaël Amara (State Archives)
  • Jérôme de Brouwer (Université libre de Bruxelles)
  • Catherine Denys (Université de Lille)
  • Anja Johansen (University of Dundee)
  • Joanne Klein (Boise State University)
  • Pieter Leloup (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Axel Tixhon (Université de Namur)
  • Antoon Vrints (Universiteit Gent)

Places

  • UCLouvain - Saint-Louis - 43 boulevard du Jardin Botanique
    Brussels, Belgium (1000)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Thursday, January 25, 2024
  • Friday, January 26, 2024
  • Monday, January 15, 2024

Keywords

  • police, intelligence, policing, global

Contact(s)

  • Antoine Renglet
    courriel : antoine [dot] renglet [at] uclouvain [dot] be

Information source

  • Antoine Renglet
    courriel : antoine [dot] renglet [at] uclouvain [dot] be

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Police Intelligence, from Local to Global. From 1750 to the Present-Day », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, https://calenda.org/1124601

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