Police and Democracy

Part I of the Article describes the emergence in postwar America of a particular understanding of a democracy, an understanding generally referred to as “democratic pluralism,” “analytic pluralism,” “pluralist theory,” or simply “pluralism.” We will spend a fair bit of time unpacking pluralism, because its fine points will prove important when we turn to the task of tracing its reflections in criminal procedure. That task is taken up in Part II, which examines the ways in which the central tenets of democratic pluralism found echoes in criminal procedure – construed broadly to include not only jurisprudence and legal scholarship but also social science about the police. Part III traces the rise, beginning in the 1960s, of “participatory democracy” and later “deliberative democracy” – theories of democracy that were framed in explicit opposition to pluralism and that rejected most of its premises. Part IV notes the ways in which theories of participatory and deliberative democracy made themselves felt in jurisprudential and academic discussions of the police. Finally, Part V draws from the earlier discussions some provisional lessons for thinking more carefully about democracy and policing.