Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Comparative Urbanisms Speaker Series

"Policing in Drag: Giuliani Goes Global with the Illusion of Control"Winifred_Curran

Winifred Curran
Assistant Professor, Urban and Economic Geography
DePaul University

Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 2:00pm at the Great Cities Institute


In 2002, Giuliani Partners was hired to implement Rudy Giuliani's New York City strategy of 'zero tolerance', 'quality of life' style policing in Mexico City. As in New York City, Giuliani capitalized on residents' fear and insecurity, but unlike in New York, he did not deliver a sense of stability and security. We argue that Giuliani's ideas garner high popularity not because of their success on the ground, but due to their currency in public discourses where they produced a 'cult of personality' that masks the very real failures of neoliberalism in everyday life. As such, Giuliani's policies in Mexico City constituted a performance: policing in drag, a dressing up of policies cloaked in the language of control, and alternatively marketed with Giuliani's masculinity and reputation as a 'tough guy.' This performance is part of the 'making up' of neoliberal policy to mask as effective, comforting, logical, and inevitable a set of policy prescriptions that has led to more insecurity, not less.

Speaker Biography

Winifred Curran is an assistant professor of urban and economic geography at DePaul University. She received her doctorate from the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University in 2004. Dr. Curran received her MA in geography from Hunter College, City University of New York in 1998. Her BA in geography is from Vassar College. Her recent work has focused on gentrification and displacement in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, In addition to gentrification, Dr. Curran's research interests include labor markets, race and gender, and qualitative methodologies.

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