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Belgian gendarmerie in the first 20th century in an international perspective

By Jonas Campion and Criminology and Sociology » UK) et du CHDJ (UCLouvain) « At the Crossroads: Comparative European Perspectives in History Policing and Justice (Open University séminaire de recherches de l’ International Centre for the History of Crime


In a socio-historical perspective, this project analyses the changes in Belgian gendarmerie from the end of Word War I until the end of the reorganisation process in the wake of World War II (1918: the gendarmes were back on the whole national territory – 1957 : adoption of the foundational law that organised the institution). It questions the origins of critiscisms against the gendarmerie, from the 70’, as a « State in the State ». This project reintegrates Gendarmerie' evolutions in a transnational dynamic of changing social regulations in order to clarify the succeeding gendarmerie models that characterised the first half of the 20th century and to question the place and role of this institution in a democratic society. The project deals with the problematic of continuities and ruptures within gendarmerie, taking into account its peculiar chronology, transcending an external periodic classification. Beside the issue of the profile, the organisation, the missions and the practices of the gendarmes within a fully modernising society, it addresses the issue of the relationships between the Belgian gendarmerie and its European counterparts. By multiplying the angles of approach to the Belgian gendarmerie-related facts through a time where periods of crisis (end of wars, mobilisation, foreign occupation) and peace followed one another, this project questions the (ab)normality of the gendarme's profession within a sociohistorical approach to the functions of the public force. To this end, it alternates with the levels of scale between local (monographic approaches to representative or exceptional units, regions and gendarmes' pathways), national (the headquarters as the centralising element of the field's realities), international levels (circulation of knowledge, competences and expertise in an European perspective) and transnational (role and function of Public Force, between State and Nation)

Year: 2012
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Provided by: DIAL UCLouvain
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