Towards a Third Policing Revolution? Harmscapes Policing and the Anthropocene

Dr Julie Berg1, Professor Clifford Shearing2,3,4

1University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
2Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
3University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
4University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

This paper proposes that we are in a midst of a third revolution in policing which has arisen out of new and emerging harmscapes in the 21st Century – particularly those harms associated with the Anthropocene. What constitutes a third revolution is the combination of four particular characteristics. Firstly, the widening spectrum of activities which stretch conventional accounts of ‘policing’ in their focus on a wider set of Anthropogenic harms. Secondly, the organisational diversity of manifold policing node responses to new and emerging harmscapes. Thirdly, the move towards resilience as the new central objective of policing in the Anthropocene in the face of uncertainty and catastrophe. Finally, a radical version of polycentric governance characterised by a shift in mentalities of policing and security professionals themselves, as well as a hybridity of nodes requiring a recalibration of what ‘public’ and ‘private’ means altogether. This raises a new set of questions around the policing of the Anthropocene, the normative role of policing, and in fact the nature of ‘policing’ altogether as well as the need for a radical reconceptualization of the ‘public’ and ‘private’ goods debate in light of the opportunities and challenges of radical polycentrism in the age of the Anthropocene.


Dr Julie Berg is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the School of Social and Political Sciences, and an Associate Director (Internationalisation) of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Clifford Shearing holds Professorships at the Universities of Griffith, Cape Town and Montreal, and is a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of New South Wales. His most recent book (with Holley and Phelan) is Criminology and Climate: Finance, Insurance and the Regulation of Harmscapes, Routledge, 2021.


Aug 26 2021


8:00 am - 6:00 pm