The Challenge of Personal Security

March 5, 2004 - 5:00 pm

Public opinion surveys in Latin America indicate that personal security is one of the chief concerns of citizens in virtually every country and has led to increasing pressures on governments to adopt responses that are extralegal or unconstitutional. Such approaches threaten the advances made in the 1980s and 1990s to limit the extralegal and non-constitutional activities of armed and security forces. This session will analyze how public order policy has evolved amid the intensification and internationalization of crime and what policies are producing positive results within the rule of law.

Desmond Arias, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Lesley Gill, American University
John Gitlitz, State University of New York at Purchase
Mark Ungar, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Desmond Arias is an Assistant Professor of Government at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. He teaches on comparative crime and policing. His research on criminal organization, human rights, and democratic order is based on field work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil between 1996 and 2002. In 2001, he served as a consultant for Viva Rio, a local NGO, on police reform. Prior to teaching at John Jay he taught at Oberlin College and Beloit College.

Lesley Gill is an anthropologist who received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1984. She teaches in the anthropology department at American University and has conducted research in Latin American for several years. Her books include Precarious Dependencies: Gender, Class and Domestic Service in Bolivia (Columbia University Press, 1994), Teetering on the Rim: Global Restructuring, Daily Life and the Armed Retreat of the Bolivian State (Columbia University Press, 2000), and The School of the Americas: Military Training, Political Violence, and Impunity in the Americas (Duke University Press, forthcoming).

John Gitlitz is an Associate Professor of Political Science at State University of New York at Purchase. He earned his M.A., and Ph.D. at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Mark Ungar is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. His Recent publications include the books Elusive Reform: Democracy and the Rule of Law in Latin America (Lynne Rienner, 2002) and Violence and Politics: Globalization’s Paradox (Routledge, 2001), as well as articles and book chapters on democratization, policing, and judicial access. He works with Amnesty International USA and local rights groups in Latin America.