Strategic Incapacitation of Indigenous Dissent: Crowd Theories, Risk Management, and Settler Colonial Policing


  • Miles Howe Queen's University
  • Jeffrey Monaghan Carleton University



Canada, Protest, Surveillance, Databanking, RCMP, Actuarial, New Penology, Risk, Strategic Incapacitation, Indigenous, Profiling,


Engaging scholarship from sociologies of security to protest policing, this article explores how risk management and actuarial tools have been operationalized in Canadian policing of Indigenous protests. We detail RCMP actuarial tools used to assess individual and group risk by tracing how these techniques are representative of much older trends in the criminal justice system surrounding the management of risk, but also have been advanced by contemporary databanking and surveillance capacities. Contesting public claims of police impartiality and objectivity, we highlight how the construction of riskiness produces an antagonism towards “successful” Indigenous protests. Though the RCMP regularly claim to “protect and facilitate the right to lawful advocacy, protest and dissent,” we show how these practices of strategic incapacitation exhibit highly antagonistic forms of policing that are grounded in a rationality that seeks to demobilize and delegitimize Indigenous social movements.

Author Biographies

Miles Howe, Queen's University

Miles Howe is a Vanier Scholar (2018) and is a PhD candidate in the department of Cultural Studies, Queen's University.

Jeffrey Monaghan, Carleton University

Jeffrey Monaghan is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University.