Dr Austin Zeiderman (Research Fellow, LSE Cities, London School of Economics and Political Science)
The majority of the world’s population is now urban, and the future of cities is increasingly becoming the focus of intense concern. Amidst heightened anxiety about global warming, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and disease outbreaks, issues of risk and security have become central to how urban spaces are planned, built, governed, and lived. Such changes are evident throughout the so-called “megacities” of the global South, while similar logics of planning and governance are also circulating among the “modern” cities of Europe and North America. In response to this widespread phenomenon, this paper considers what happens when the rights of urban citizens are reconfigured by the political imperative to protect life from threats. It examines such situations by focusing on how the emergence of risk as a technique of government shapes urban politics in Bogotá, Colombia. Investigating the frames of political engagement within which claims for recognition, inclusion, and entitlement are made, I argue that it is within the domain of biopolitical security that poor and vulnerable populations engage in relationships with the state. To become citizens with rights, they must first be recognized as lives at risk
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Part of the Taking Place seminar series.
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