From Family to Police Force

From Family to Police Force

Security and Belonging on a South Asian Border

Police/Worlds: Studies in Security, Crime, and Governance

by Farhana Ibrahim

Published by: Cornell University Press

216 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm

  • ISBN: 9781501759543
  • Published: November 2021


From Family to Police Force engages with policing through the production and contestation of social, familial, and national order on a South Asian borderland. Farhana Ibrahim looks beyond the obvious sites, sources and modes of policing. She posits that policing is distinct from the police as institution, even though various institutionally organized forms of the police do figure in the book.

In the western Indian borderland that divides Kutch, a district in the western Indian state of Gujarat, from Sindh, a southern province in Pakistan, there are civil and border police, the air wing of the armed forces, and paramilitary forces, in addition to various intelligence agencies that depute officers to the region. A bird's eye view of security and policing in the region would draw attention to these groups as comprising the major actors in the field of security and policing. Ibrahim's long-standing anthropological engagement with the region allows her to observe policing as it played out at multiple levels. From Family to Police Force shows that the nation-state is only one of the scales at which policing is enacted at this borderland. Additionally, multiple sources and forms of policing structure everyday interaction on a more microscopic scale such as the family and the individual.