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Voir et analyser le gouvernement de la foule en liesse. Eléments pour l'étude des rassemblements festifs à l'aide de matériaux sonores et visuels
Seeing and analyzing crowd control : considerations on the study of festive gatherings through the use of audiovisual material. The goal of our research project was to analyze the mechanisms of crowd control on the occasion of the 2008 European Football Championship held in Geneva. In this article, we describe the necessary ambiguity of these occasions for public authorities. On the one hand, they must guarantee that the occasion is sufficiently secure to avoid infractions or incivilities by fans ; on the other hand, they must create the conditions for a festive event of which exuberance is a central part. Police forces aim not to eliminate excesses but to contain them, since some degree of excess is indispensable to ensure the accomplishment of the event. How does the police deal with this complicated situation ? Where is the limit between preventive and repressive measures ? How do they implement management of the public order in the setting of a sports event ? We aim to render visible the practical conditions of the event by making use of video sequences recorded during a match in Geneva. The empirical materials collected will be used to describe three different situations that highlight how quickly fan action can radically switch natures and how complex it is for the police to face a jubilant crowd. In such a context, we show that assuring the smooth progress of the event requires a redefinition of the role of the police, whose interventions must tread a fine line between permissiveness and prohibition.
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