Ansatte – Københavns Universitet

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Marie Ørum Wikman

Marie Ørum Wikman

Ph.d. stipendiat

Primære forskningsområder

Juridical, political and moral anthropology

Justice, policing, inequality, discrimination

State, margin, violence, legitimacy, moral, emotions, subjectivity

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Latin America

Aktuel forskning

Ph.D. project: "Negotiating meanings of death. An ethnographic study among relatives of victims of police killings in the urban area of Buenos Aires".

The project is based on a long-term ethnographic fieldwork among relatives of victims of police killings in the urban area of Buenos Aires. Throughout the project I investigate how the relatives engage in negotiations regarding the legitimacy of the killings of their sons, through both juridical litigation of and political mobilization around their cases.

The installation of ‘insecurity’ as a problem of high public concern within the Argentinian society in many ways renders visible the social and political processes in relation to which the police killings should be seen. A particular aspect of this sense of insecurity is the imbrication of notions of crime and poverty in what is considered a high degree of youth participation in unorganized street level crime, an aspect that tends to give way for the support for increases in police control in and around poor urban neighborhoods.

By focusing on cases, where a state agent kills a young man from a poor neighborhood, I aspire in general terms to contribute to debates about the relationship between state and margins in an urban setting.

A series of questions stands as central for the local negotiations regarding the legitimacy of the killings. They range from more technical questions of: did the victim posses a gun? did he make use of it? was he killed by shots in the front or in the back? to questions such as: who was he? where did he live? was he committing a robbery? did he have a penal record? was the killing committed in a place considered dangerous? My analytical interest is to understand the moral content of these questions as well as their answers, specifically how notions of tolerable/non-tolerable victims that exceed strict juridical classifications of self-defense are put into play.

In more concrete terms I investigate how the relatives experience the state in their encounter with the police and juridical institutions and the ways in which experiences of being deprived of a son give way for processes of formation of political subjectivities through which the relatives come to contest given moralities about young men from poor urban neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.

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