What does the fight against terror do to cities ? A comparative multidisciplinary proposal to reflect upon radicalization

Valérie Amiraux and Frédérick Nadeau

This proposal is based on a research we started in 2010 with a team of graduate students and professors that looks at radicalization as a micro-phenomenon taking place in the course of ordinary interactions within pluralistic societies (Amiraux, Araya-Moreno, 2014). The team mobilize various disciplinary lenses to draw attention to the multiple miscommunications that inevitably occur in pluralistic societies, leading, as we often see, to the development of a polarized discourse between minorities (most of our case studies look at religious minorities) and the dominant society, thus increasing the potential of a response in the form of both violent radicalization and/or securitization (Kundnani, 2014).

In this proposal, we take on the recent tragic events that have affected a number of countries around the globe (Turkey, Lebanon, Kenya, France, and Mali, to name a few) to invite the submission of papers addressing the impact of such massive political violence and terror on the everyday experience of urban public spaces. More precisely, we would like to engage with ethnographic approaches (from sociology, anthropology, geography but also law, political science and history) that would help us to think about the empirical effects of the political management of “security” in the post-2001 context.

Two lines of reflection will be given prominence in the selection of papers: first, we are interested in papers dealing with how concrete legal and political measures taken in the aftermath of such events (surveillance, anti-terror measures, state of emergency) affect the collective experience of the public space. How does the “shrinking” of the public space affect the political routine of ordinary urban experiences? How do extraordinary measures shape the local life of specific neighbourhoods? Second, we would like to invite submissions looking at the response to these State invasive policies: what do post-terrorist attacks policies produce in terms of engagement and political mobilizations? Who are the actors of these reactive movements? How do they invest in specific urban settings to build up their constituency?