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Michael – 57th StSeminary Coop 1
Apr19
Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Michael Sierra-Arévalo – “The Danger Imperative: Violence, Death, And The Soul Of Policing” – Andrew V. Papachristos


Michael Sierra-Arévalo will discuss The Danger Imperative: Violence, Death, and the Soul of Policing. Michael will be joined in conversation by Andrew V. Papachristos. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the 57th Street Books

About the Book: Policing is violent. And its violence is not distributed equally: stark racial disparities persist despite decades of efforts to address them. Amid public outcry and an ongoing crisis of police legitimacy, there is pressing need to understand not only how police perceive and use violence but also why.

With unprecedented access to three police departments and drawing on more than 100 interviews and 1,000 hours on patrol, The Danger Imperative provides vital insight into how police culture shapes officers’ perception and practice of violence. From the front seat of a patrol car, it shows how the institution of policing reinforces a cultural preoccupation with violence through academy training, departmental routines, powerful symbols, and officers’ street-level behavior.

This violence-centric culture makes no explicit mention of race, relying on the colorblind language of “threat” and “officer safety.” Nonetheless, existing patterns of systemic disadvantage funnel police hyperfocused on survival into poor minority neighborhoods. Without requiring individual bigotry, this combination of social structure, culture, and behavior perpetuates enduring inequalities in police violence.

A trailblazing, on-the-ground account of modern policing, this book shows that violence is the logical consequence of an institutional culture that privileges officer survival over public safety.

About the Author: Michael Sierra-Arévalo is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of The Danger Imperative: Violence, Death, and the Soul of Policing (Columbia University Press, 2024). From 2020 to 2023, he served on the City of Austin’s Public Safety Commission.

About the Interlocutor: Andrew V. Papachristos is the John G. Searle Professor of Sociology, The Director at the Institute for Policy Research and the founder and Faculty Director of (CORNERS) The Center for Neighborhood Engaged Research & Science at Northwestern University. His research aims to understand how the connected nature of cities—how their citizens, neighborhoods, and institutions are tied to one another—affect what we feel, think, and do. His main area of research applies network science to the study of gun violence, police misconduct, illegal gun markets, street gangs, and urban neighborhoods and has more than 15 years of experience working in the area of engaged research having partnered with community groups, state and local criminal justice agencies, schools, hospitals, and government agencies.


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