The Jungle Academy: Molding White Supremacy in American Police Recruits

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This article examines how white supremacy is embedded and also made invisible in the molding, crafting, and training of police-recruit bodies. I use the term molding to describe the process of manufactured sculpting through the manipulable material of police recruits. Through ethnography of a composite police academy made up of academies from several US cities, this article demonstrates how white supremacy is ordered, maintained, infused, and embodied. I argue that the jungle academy produces a form of active reshaping of everyday young citizens into police through the recruit process: a physical, emotional, and mental re-forming. This work is situated in scholarship on embodiment, race, and the state, and demonstrates how to methodologically examine the corporeal and ontological aspects of racialized state violence. It also demonstrates how an anthropology of white supremacy provides insight into how white governance is intimately tied to the embodiment of the state through the institution of the police. [white supremacy, police, race, gender, United States].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-156
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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