oa African Yearbook of Rhetoric - Inteligencia policial, retórica organizacional y regulación de la correspondencia

Volume 8 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2220-2188
  • E-ISSN: 2305-7785



This article examines police and intelligence practices in terms of what Foucault calls governmentality. Foucault conceived the art of government in a broad sense to include organs of the State such as the security services. Police intelligence can thus be understood as part of what Jason Royce Lindsey calls the “Deep State.” From the perspective of French discourse analysis, I consider the DIPBA to be a discourse community. In line with so-called organizational rhetoric, I analyze two documents from Argentina’s last military dictatorship (1976-1983), preserved in the DIPBA archive: (1) the “Correspondence procedures and regulations”, approved by the Chief of Police of the Province of Buenos Aires in 1978, and the “Handbook for processing reserved and confidential correspondence”, approved by Provincial Decree in 1981 and mandatory for all Provincial Government offices, including the police. My purpose here is to describe the rules of style, linguistic correction, terms of address, use of foreign languages and emotions in the police correspondence. Also, I am interested in describing a series of underlying topics, particularly those linked to the ethos of a good intelligence agent. My conclusion is that regulating the various types of correspondence in the Police of the Province of Buenos Aires helped control the way its members constructed identity and meaning and legitimize the hierarchical relations between police and an ethical world opposed to “subversion.”

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