Cities at War: global insecurity and urban resistance

Warfare in the twenty-first century goes well beyond conventional armies and nation-states. Yet the analysis of failed states, civil war, and state building rarely considers the city, rather than the country, as the terrain of battle.

Our panel discuss the recently published book Cities at War and how urban environments are sites of contemporary warfare and insecurity. Reflecting Kaldor’s expertise on security cultures and Sassen’s perspective on cities and their geographies, they and their assembled group of sholars develop new insight into how cities and their residents encounter instability and conflict, as well as the ways in which urban forms provide possibilities for countering violence. Through a series of case studies of cities including Baghdad, Bogotá, Ciudad Juarez, Kabul, and Karachi, the book reveals the unequal distribution of insecurity as well as how urban capabilities might offer resistance and hope. Through analyses of how contemporary forms of identity, inequality, and segregation interact with the built environment, Cities at War explains why and how political violence has become increasingly urbanized. It also points toward the capacity of the city to shape a different kind of urban subjectivity that can serve as a foundation for a more peaceful and equitable future.



This event was held on 18 November 2020.


Ruben Andersson is Professor of Social Anthropology at Oxford University's Department of International Development, working on migration, borders and security. 

Mary Kaldor (@KaldorM) is the Principal Investigator of the Conflict Research Programme and Professor Emeritus of Global Governance. 

Saskia Sassen (@SaskiaSassen) is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chairs The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University.

Ricky Burdett (@BURDETTR) is Professor of Urban Studies at LSE and Director of LSE Cities, a global centre of research and teaching at LSE.