Laura Keesman successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled 'Being in Control. Policing Bodies, Emotions and Violence' March 31st, 2023 at the University of Amsterdam
Laura's research shows the ways in which police officers gain, maintain and not lose control in violent interactions. Existing (police) literature tends to assume control as a given. Instead, Laura's findings clarify what control means and how it permeates police officers' situated and occupational practices, particularly in the context of violence. She offers a non-essentialist understanding of control. Control is not a matter of 'to have or have not', rather, police officers enact control; they put it into being. Laura shows how officers enact realities of control on bodily, emotional, discursive and visual levels by constructing particular futures, using certain discourses and applying forms of emotion/body regulation. Her dissertation specifies the ways in which police officers 'do control'. This allows us to see how officers make sense of escalating, de-escalating and potentially violent dynamics and how they act upon this, crucial for understanding police work during police-citizen interactions.
The thesis is currently under embargo, if interested please contact Laura directly at