Black resistance to British policing

By Adam Elliott-Cooper

Black resistance to British policing
Hardcover +
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526157072
  • Publish Date: May 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526143938
  • Publish Date: May 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526143952
  • Publish Date: May 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information


    As police racism unsettles Britain's tolerant self-image, Black resistance to British policing details the activism that made movements like Black Lives Matter possible. Elliott-Cooper analyses racism beyond prejudice and the interpersonal - arguing that black resistance confronts a global system of racial classification, exploitation and violence.

    Imperial cultures and policies, as well as colonial war and policing highlight connections between these histories and contemporary racisms. But this is a book about resistance, considering black liberation movements in the 20th century while utilising a decade of activist research covering spontaneous rebellion, campaigns and protest in the 21st century. Drawing connections between histories of resistance and different kinds of black struggle against policing is vital, it is argued, if we are to challenge the cutting edge of police and prison power which harnesses new and dangerous forms of surveillance, violence and criminalisation.


    'Brother Adam Elliot Cooper has given us an important slice of Black British history. Grounded not just in solid academic research, but also in front line work serving and working with communities. Adam's grasp of both history and the reality on the ground today makes for an impressive read as he brings to life the characters and communities resisting policing.'
    Akala, rapper, activist, poet, and author of Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire

    'Without a doubt Adam Elliott-Cooper is a critical voice anchoring urgent conversations about the dynamics of Black resistance in the UK. Powerfully argued and compelling, his new book calls our attention to the gendered experience of state violence, the indispensable roles that Black women have played in shaping campaigns about racist policing in the UK and the imperial logics that have persisted in sanctioning the criminalisation of Black life and Black cultural forms. Moreover, this is a book that is insistent on employing history as tool for understanding the durability of anti-Black racial thinking and as a prism of knowledge that can inform our strategies of resistance to police violence in the present.'
    Kennetta Hammond Perry, Director of the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre and author of London is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race

    'Black resistance to British policing
    is a must-read for researchers, organisers, or students. Carefully attentive to gender, age, and sector Elliott-Cooper shows how, as Stuart Hall argued, "race is the modality through which class is lived." Stretching through time and across colonial and metropolitan space, the book shows continuity and change in organisational forms - from labor and social movements to families to community centres - through which resistance takes shape, extends, and endures. The book builds toward abolition understood as the capacity for self-determination, not only for people like those vividly portrayed in these pages, but for all who struggle to end oppression.'
    Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of The Golden Gulag

    'This book provides a comprehensive and timely examination of the function and practices of the police as a control apparatus of the state as they seek to regulate black people's presence in the society and its institutions. The book is a must read, especially for young people, parents, teachers and those who shape education, youth and criminal justice policy.'
    Gus John, Associate Professor, UCL Institute of Education and author of Moss Side 1981: More Than Just a Riot

    Elliott-Cooper provides crucial groundwork with this important and inspiring book on black resistances to British policing, which can be read as part of the black radical tradition as it deeply engages with traditions of anti-colonialism, black internationalism, black feminism and anti-capitalism, and shows that worlds beyond policing and prisons, as methods of racial capitalism, are already in the making.'
    Vanessa E. Thompson, Ethnic and Racial Studies (June 2022)

    'This book is a must-read, especially for young people, students, parents, teachers.'
    Race and Class

    'An important addition to the growing literature on this subject.'
    Labour Hub


    1 'We did not come alive in Britain': histories of Black resistance to British policing
    2 Into the twenty-first century: resistance, respectability and Black deaths in police custody
    3 Black masculinity and criminalisation: the 2011 'riots' in context
    4 2011: revolt and community defence
    5 All-out war: surveillance, collective punishment and the cutting edge of police power
    6 Futures of Black resistance: disruption, rebellion, abolition



    Adam Elliott-Cooper is a research associate in sociology at the University of Greenwich

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