Video | The Truth Machines

March 31, 2021 by Cate MacLeod

On Friday, March 26th, CrimSL held the fourth event in the Critical Perspectives on Justice and Inequality series. Dr. Jinee Lokaneeta (Drew University) presented The Truth Machines: Policing, Violence, and Scientific Interrogations in India, based on her recent book of the same title. CrimSL PhD Students Tyler King and Daniel Konikoff provided commentary, and the event was moderated by Associate Professor Beatrice Jauregui and Dr. Bhavani Raman (Associate Professor,University of Toronto Department of History).

The recording can be viewed below, or on the CrimSL YouTube channel

About Dr. Lokaneeta's recent book, The Truth Machines: Policing, Violence, and Scientific Interrogations in India:

The Truth Machines examines the emergence and use of [lie detectors, brain scans, and narcoanalysis] to analyze two primary themes. First, the book questions whether existing theoretical frameworks for understanding state power and legal violence are adequate to explain constant innovations of the state. Second, it explores the workings of law, science, and policing in the everyday context to generate a theory of state power and legal violence, challenging the monolithic frameworks about this relationship, based on a study of both state and non-state actors.

Jinee Lokaneeta argues that the attempt to replace physical torture with truth machines in India fails because it relies on a confessional paradigm that is contiguous with torture. Her work also provides insights into a police institution that is founded and refounded in its everyday interactions between state and non-state actors. Theorizing a concept of Contingent State, this book demonstrates the disaggregated, and decentered nature of state power and legal violence, creating possible sites of critique and intervention.

Critical Perspectives on Justice and Inequality is a new series on criminological and sociolegal dimensions of anti-Black racism, Indigenous peoples, and settler colonialism.