Megacities and Violence - TCS Special Issue

A row of interesting publications by well-known academics in the latests issue from Theory, Culture and Society, November 2010.

Megacities and Violoence

See for example these:

Introduction: The Problem of Violence

Megacities and Violence Special Section

  1. Ryan Bishop
    1. National University of Singapore,


The scale and diversity of megacities finds analogous scale and diversity in the violence witnessed and experienced in these complexly dense urban sites. From full-scale military invasion to internecine ethnic and tribal conflict, from paramilitary incursions to strategic car bombs, from slum clearance to pervasive everyday low-level violence, from Mafia-led armies to incessant inflictions of violence on the urban poor, and from missile launches to machete attacks, megacities, most unfortunately, have them all. This article contextualizes many of the key concerns and issues addressed by the four main articles in the section; it does so by arguing for some specific historical, genealogical and technological explanations for the range and scale of violence inflicted upon and within megacity sites. The section proleptically discusses megacity phenomena that will be taken up in greater detail in the forthcoming second volume of the New Encyclopaedia Project Megacities: Problematizing the Urban.

When the City Itself Becomes a Technology of War

  1. Saskia Sassen
    1. The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University, USA,


The essay is framed by the proposition that cities are the frontier spaces for much of what is usually referred to as global governance challenges. It uses the case of asymmetric war to explore the contradictions that arise from this urbanizing — most significantly, the limits of superior military power when war moves to cities and the ways in which this makes powerlessness complex rather than elementary. The core of the paper focuses on Mumbai and Gaza as two sites that help us understand the enormous variability of war once it gets urbanized, and thus the multiplicity of types of asymmetric war. The essay concludes with a discussion about larger patterns we can see through the cases examined here, such as the repositioning of territory, authority and rights.

Vertical Security in the Megacity

Legibility, Mobility and Aerial Politics

  1. Peter Adey
    1. School of Physical and Geographical Sciences, Keele University, UK,


By excavating the ambiguities of the helicopter’s machinic-prosthetic view, a perspective which may be distant and abstract, while also near and viscerally present, this article will explore how megacity security is increasingly waged and consumed. The article argues that megacity security marches to the rotator-beat of the police helicopter, fuelled by military technophilia and in a context of the biopolitical desertion of the megacities’ most vulnerable. The article takes three aspects, visually expressed and constituted through aerial-helicopter security. Drawing from several megacity examples including Mumbai, Lagos, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the first resolves megacity confusion with legibility. In the following section the article examines the mobilization of the security gaze, and the final section explores how helicopter visuality may hold or territorialize megacity space.


Popular Posts