Urban Politics, Urban Security


The new regime of urban security has been tracked back to the 9/11 events, but its origins are longer and deeper. As many theorists from Lefebvre onward have suggested, real estate investment in city building offers a means of displacing crises of capitalist accumulation from the industrial sector, and indeed the "Great Recession" beginning in 2007 exploded out from the nexus of finance capital and real estate which reached its apogee during the neoliberal moment of capitalist development. The hollowing out of one arena of state practices (social reproduction support) has, ironically, raised fears of a direct diminution of social security, not as government program but as everyday experience, and 9/11 became at best the excuse for a more direct securitization and militarization of urban life. This paper explores these issues drawing on the recent strategic police crackdown at the Toronto G20 protests, and asks what this means for urban politics during a period in which neoliberalism is "dominant but dead." Neil Smith is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where he was the founding Director of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics. He is also Sixth Century Chair in Geography and Social Theory at University of Aberdeen. His numerous authored and edited books include American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization which won several awards including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, 2004; The Endgame of Globalization (2005); New Urban Frontier (1996); and Uneven Development (3rd edn, 2008). He has written more than 200 articles, chapters and essays, and his work is translated into more than a dozen languages. He has received numerous honors including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He lectures widely and is an organizer of the International Critical Geography Group.

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