Cities as Battlespace: The New Military Urbanism

25 November 2010, 18:00 - 19:00

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge

Professor Stephen Graham  (Professor of Cities and Society, Global Urban Research Unit, School of Architecture, Newcastle University)

This lecture draws on a newly-published book - Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism (Verso, 2010) -- to explore emerging crossovers between the ‘targeting’ of everyday life in so-called ‘smart’ border and ‘homeland security’ programmes and related efforts to delegate the sovereign power to deploy lethal force to increasingly robotized and automated war machines.  Arguing that both cases represent examples of a new military urbanism, the rest of the lecture will develop a thesis outlining the scope and power of contemporary interpenetrations between urbanism and militarism. The new military urbanism is defined as encompassing a complex set of rapidly evolving ideas, doctrines, practices, norms, techniques and popular cultural arenas through which the everyday spaces, sites and infrastructures of cities—along with their civilian populations— are now rendered as the main targets and threats within a limitless ‘battlespace’. The new military urbanism, it is argued, rests on five related pillars; these are explored in turn. Included here are the normalization of militarized practices of tracking and targeting everyday urban circulations; the two-way movement of political, juridical and technologi- cal techniques between ‘homeland’ cities and cities on colonial frontiers; the rapid growth of sprawling, transnational industrial complexes fusing military and security companies with technology, surveillance and entertainment ones; the deployment of political violence against and through everyday urban infrastructure by both states and non-state fighters; and the increasingly seamless fusing of militarized veins of popular, urban and material culture. The talk finishes by discussing the new political imaginations demanded by the new military urbanism.

The City Seminar is hosting this event as the keynote lecture for the
Conflict in Cities Graduate Workshop
which continues on Friday 26 November.

For further information see www.conflictincities.org/Graduate


Open to all.  No registration required.

Part of the City Seminar seminar series.
For more information about the group, please visit the link on the right hand side of this page.