Modeling Repressive Policing: Computational Analysis of Protocols from the Israeli State Commission of Inquiry into the October 2000 Events

Renana Keydar*, Yael Litmanovitz, Badi Hasisi, Yoav Kan-Tor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article addresses the gap between normative expectations of the right to protest in liberal democracies and the continued practice of repressive protest policing. The empirical literature has identified three types of factors explaining repressive policing: macro- or societal-level factors, meso-level factors relating to the police organization, and micro-level factors pertaining to specific events. Yet these factors provide only a fragmented understanding of the phenomenon. In this article, we put forward a novel three-tiered methodology of scaled reading, which is able to examine all these explanations together. We use scaled reading to analyze the protocols of the Or Commission of Inquiry, which investigated lethal clashes between the Israeli police and Israel's Arab minority in October 2000. Through large-scale algorithmic topic modeling, we found that all types of empirical explanations of repressive policing co-exist within the October events. The mid-scale analysis revealed that no type of explanation exclusively belongs to a specific group of actors. The small-scale reading of the most representative documents for each topic demonstrated that this coexistence of mechanisms is also present within single testimonies. Together, our findings challenge existing empirical categories and illuminate repressive policing as a nonlinear, nonbinary, noncausal, and nonunitary phenomenon. These insights help make sense of the phenomenon's persistence in deeply divided societies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1075-1105
Number of pages31
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Nov 2022

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