This article is based on a study in which the work of police officers has been followed on a day-to-day basis, with a special focus on the work directed at youths. The focus is on how contact is established or obstructed in the meeting between police officers and young males, and the significance of constructions of masculinity and ethnicity/race for this process. Encounters between young males and police officers are analysed from Yuval-Davis notions of belonging and unbelonging. The analysis shows how both masculinity and ethnicity/race can be used for establishing or obstructing contact between police and young males. The article also show how belonging and unbelonging is a question of negotiations that can undergo a number of shifts in the course of a given situation, and also that these negotiations take the form of a collaborative activity, even if this starts from unequal power positions. A situation that starts from an antagonistic approach may in fact, via markers of belonging, turn out quite different. But it is also pointed out that the markers of belonging in one dimension, at the same time may generate markers of unbelonging in others. Finally this developing of contact shall be understood both as a way of changing the contacts into less conflicted ways and as one of several ways of gaining more control in stigmatized areas.
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