Masking over ambiguity: Suburban Johannesburg police reservists and the uniform fetish
(2016) Policing and Society, 26 (6), pp. 659-679.
Using McClintock’s theoretical concept ‘fetish’ and Foucault’s ‘bio-power’, this article explores what ambiguous perceptions of themselves reservists use the uniform to mask and how these are articulated through difference. Conducting an analysis of discourses using data collected from interviews with 23 suburban Johannesburg reservists, this article finds that the most prevalent ambiguities reservists manage circulate vulnerability and control as well as fear of belonging and legitimacy. However, these anxieties are not purely managed through the uniform and are further complicated by expectations of particular bodies shaped through history. Exploring fetish and ambiguities through data and discourses relating the uniform provides a novel means from which to grapple with the complexity of reservists’ subjugation without falling into a dichotomous, a-historical trap. © 2015 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
fetish; identity; Johannesburg; policing; reservists; SAPS