A Tale of Suspicious Cities - The securitisation of urban everyday life in Europe in times of (counter)terrorism

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/151441
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2024-03-04
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Politikwissenschaft
Advisor: Diez, Thomas (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2023-07-27
DDC Classifikation: 300 - Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
Other Keywords:
Urban everyday life
European cities
Posthumanist performativity
New Materialism
Poshumanist Ethics
Critical Security Studies
Critical Terrorism Studies
License: http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_ohne_pod.php?la=de http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_ohne_pod.php?la=en
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The understanding that cities and terrorism have an ‘indivisible and brutal relationship’ (Burke 2018) became at latest with the 9/11 attacks prominent in public and academic discourse: As terrorist violence is typically highly symbolic, metropoles appeal as attractive targets. To respond to the therefore constantly looming threat of terrorist attacks, various countermeasures have been imposed in cities all around the globe – also in European metropoles, which have otherwise me-ticulously curated an image of being particularly safe, free, and liberal places. By asking, how everyday life in European metropoles has transformed during times of (counter)terrorism, this dissertation contributes to the emerging interdisciplinary debates around the securitisation of ur-ban everyday life on a theoretical-methodological as well as a normative-critical level. Drawing on theoretical assumptions from posthumanist performativity and ethics, securitisation theory, and theorisations of spatiality and temporality, the author argues that the securitisation of everyday life constitutes a process of urban segregation which renders European metropoles the translocal manifestation of an (in)security paradox that can be and should be challenged. In empirical terms, the research is centred around the (counter)terrorist developments in London, Brussels, and Stuttgart. The conducted historiographic archaeology reveals that urban everyday life in Europe became increasingly securitised, in the sense that more and more people, sites, and objects be-came suspicious and at the same time the human and non-human measures to control this sus-piciousness intensified. However, despite this universalisation of increasingly vague notions of suspiciousness, pre-existing socio-material power hierarchies were reproduced and reinforced: Due to asymmetries regarding who and what is considered worthy of protection, from whom and what security needs to be provided, and who and what is deemed capable to make this differenti-ation, already privileged participants at the centre of urban everyday life in Europe were further empowered, while the vulnerabilities of its already marginalised participants were further exacer-bated. This phenomenon was not limited to cities that suffered local attacks, such as London and Brussels, but also transformed the everyday life of cities like Stuttgart which have not been direct-ly affected by terrorist violence. Hence, the response to terrorist violence at one place inscribes counterterrorist violence at other places which ultimately increases insecurity at them rather than security.

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