Professor Stephen Graham: “Cities under Siege: The New Military Urbanism”
Professor of Cities and Society
University of Newcastle, United Kingdom
Link to profile: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/apl/staff/profile/steve.graham
Link to book: http://www.versobooks.com/books/1030-cities-under-siege
Introduction and Discussion by Neil Brenner, GSD
It is now well established that both the “war on terror” and its descendents have been heavily constituted through highly urban discourses, materialities and practices. Drawing on a recent book of the same name, this lecture — deliberately transdisciplinary, synthetical and polemical in scope — seeks to demonstrate that new ideologies of permanent and boundless war are radically intensifying the militarization of urban life in the contemporary period. The paper delineates the ways in which contemporary processes of militarisation — which surround what I label the “new military urbanism” — raise fundamental questions for critical urban scholarship because of the ways in which they work to normalise the permanent targeting of everyday urban sites, circulations, and populations. Focusing primarily on US military security and military doctrine, culture and technology, this paper explores the new military urbanism’s five inter-related foundations in detail. These are: the urbanisation of military and security doctrine; the links between militarised control technologies and digitized urban life; the cultural performances of militarized media consumption; the emerging urban political economies of the “security” industries; and the new state spaces of violence. Following the elaboration of each of these themes, the paper concludes by identifying ways forward for critical urban research.
Professor Graham is the co-author of Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Motilities and the Urban Condition, one of the most important contributions to critical urban theory of the last twenty years. He has written extensively on the geopolitics of urban infrastructure, on the proliferation of new technologies of urban surveillance and on the urban dimensions of security, war and violence. Other recent books include Cities War and Terrorism (Blackwell 2008) and Disrupted Cities (Routledge 2009).
“Roll over Jane Jacobs,” Mike Davis says in his endorsement for the book. “Here’s urban geography as it looks through the eye of a Predator at 25,000 feet.” The book, says Davis, is “a fundamental and very scary report from the global red zone.”
Professor Graham was interviewed yesterday on DEMOCRACY NOW regarding militarized policing and the Occupy movements:
Lunch will be provided.
Principal Speaker: 1703
Professor of Cities and Society University of Newcastle, United Kingdom
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