Dennis Pauschinger

Post-Doc at the Chair of Political Geography, University of Neuchâtel

Dennis Pauschinger is currently a Post-Doc at the Chair of Political Geography at the University of Neuchâtel in the Swiss National Science Foundation project Power and Space in the Drone Age. The project investigates civil professional drone usage linked to questions of what are the driving forces behind drone developments, how drones work in different institutional contexts, and how drones relate to questions of civil liberties, privacy, security issues, threats of terrorism, policing, urban automation and the digitalisation of society. Beside the project on drones Dennis also pursues his research interests involving the socio-political dimensions of sport mega events, urban security issues, crime and crime control, policing and the police, and surveillance in its many facets. Currently Dennis is turning his PhD thesis into a book and is developing a series of articles.

Dennis holds a Sociology degree from the University of Hamburg and obtained his PhD as a EU Erasmus+ Fellow in thejointDoctorate in Cultural and Global Criminology at the Universities of Kent and Hamburg. His doctoral thesis investigated global security models associated with sport mega events. More specifically Dennis looked at the ways in which the standardised securitisation of FIFA World Cups and Olympic Games materialised during the 2014 tournament and the 2016 editions of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and how they affected local security dynamics in the city. Over a period of eight month Dennis carried out ethnography within the security forces before, during and after the mega events. Principally Dennis’ immersion into the backstage of Rio’s civil police, the Integrated Command and Control Centres fully packed with cutting-edge surveillance technology, and the interviews with many of the public and private security agents gives unique insights into how sport mega event security was organised in Rio. Working from the perspective of a local civil police station and the lived experience of civil police Special Forces, the thesis argues that the planners’ rational mega event security model did not affect the everyday conditions of Rio’s urban conflict, where traditional patterns of police work still prevail. It reveals how everyday emotions – frustration, pleasure, and adrenaline rushes – and even Special Forces war narratives upset in practice the static and technology-based mega event security models.

His PhD topic resulted from his long-term engagement with Brazil and previous working experiences in both the social and sports sector. From 2002 to 2006 Dennis was involved with the Brazilian civil society organisation, Associação Comunitária Monte Azul, which develops social activities in three favelas in the south zone of São Paulo. Dennis worked in the institutional development and international relations department where he coordinated the international volunteer programme and consulted for other NGOs. Together with former Monte Azul volunteers he founded a supporting organisation to Monte Azul in Europe and served as the Chairman over a period of five years. After that, Dennis continuously and tirelessly upholds his engagement for social justice, citizenship and democratic rights in Brazil and elsewhere.

Dennis’ expertise turned to sport mega events in 2008 when he started working as integration officer and translator for the Hamburg football club HSV. Until 2011 he was responsible for the integration of the Brazilian (and other Latin American) players and their families. His work was an integral part of the team-management and he advised the coaches and the board on intercultural issues related to the players. This period led Dennis to discover the world of sport politics that normally stays hidden behind the curtain of mediated sport spectacles.

In a series of media appearances and discussion contributions at conferences and platforms like Play the Game, Dennis actively linked his research experience and his PhD findings to public debates. He was awarded with the Post Grad Prize by the PSA Sport and Politics Specialist Group for the best postgraduate presentation on the security dynamics at the 2014 World Cup. Returning from fieldwork after the 2014 World Cup he witnessed how the city of Hamburg prepared to bid for the 2024 Olympics, furnished by the same legacy discourses he saw in Brazil. The discussions in Hamburg were mostly based upon economic, cultural and urban development benefits for the city rather than conducting an honest debate also involving the many risks associated with hosting the Games. The pro-Olympics campaign was generated by a powerful alliance of the social-democratic and green city government, the most important local media outlets, the most significant actors in the local economy, marketing agencies and world leading planning and consultancy bureaus. Dennis engaged in the successful NOlympic campaign and organised public discussions as well as writing a joint position paper with other academic colleagues to hold the bid organisation responsible for a more open and honest bid debate before the citizens could vote in a referendum where 51.6% of the participants rejected the city’s bid ambitions.

Follow Dennis on Twitter: @dpauschinger

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