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Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844677621
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844677627
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 3.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Look, you’re just going to have to read this book ... after a while you begin to wonder whether books like this will be allowed to be published for much longer.”—Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

“Superb ... Graham builds on the writings of Mike Davis and Naomi Klein who have attempted to expose the hidden corporate and military structures behind everyday life.”—Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

“A rigorously researched, pioneering book packed with disturbing and at times astonishing information.”—Icon

“Sharp, lucid and elegant prose ... Graham is consistently insightful and compelling. Cities Under Siege is an indispensable analysis of the dark fantasies that the military imagination is seeking to realise in the coming century.”—Red Pepper

“Roll over Jane Jacobs: here’s urban geography as it looks like through the eye of a Predator at 25,000 feet. A fundamental and very scary report from the global red zone.”—Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

Cities Under Siege is a detailed and intense forensics of new urban frontiers, laboratories of the extreme where experiments with new urban conditions are currently being undertaken. In this fascinating new work Steven Graham has created a novel concept of the city, looking at war as the limit condition of urbanity and calling for an alternative urban life yet to come.”—Eyal Weizman, author of Hollow Land

“A brilliant critique of the deadly embrace of military violence and contemporary urbanism. Steve Graham writes with immense power and lucidity, layering detail over detail and image over image to expose the shadows that are falling across cities around the world. This is not a dystopian future but the present, and Graham compels us to open our eyes to the dangers military urbanism poses to contemporary democracy.”—Derek Gregory, Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia and author of The Colonial Present

About the Author

Stephen Graham is Professor of Cities and Society at Newcastle University. He is the author or editor of Telecommunications and the City and Splintering Urbanism (both with Simon Marvin), Cities, War and Terrorism and Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructures Fail. His most recent book is Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
'Cities Under Siege' is an extremely impressive exposé of how military doctrine and vague and all-pervasive 'security' concerns are starting to dominate urban life across the world. Addressing everything from 'homeland' security to military destruction of infrastructure, militarised urban video games to SUVs, and drones and robotic weapons to right-wing diatribes against cities, the book covers an amazing amount of ground. The book is informed by the latest theoretical and academic thinking. It uses this to illuminate a myriad of examples from across the world, from London's 'ring of steel' to G20 summits, counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq and Israel to biofuels plantations in Indonesia . The book uses this extraordinary range to reveal many startling and poorly explored aspects of contemporary militarization. The book is a stark warning that 'security' industries are doing well out of urban paranoia, market fundamentalism and war mongering: another vision of our urbanizing world is desperately needed. 'Cities Under Siege' does a fantastic job of revealing what's at stake. It also opens up some ways forward for activism and resistance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Review 31 on February 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
(by Jeff Heydon, originally published in Review 31)

Living in downtown Toronto during the G20 summit in the summer of 2010 was instructive. Myriad CCTV cameras were erected, additional police were imported from multiple municipalities close to the city, and a barrier was established around the Convention Centre that would protect the leaders of nations from the Great Unwashed. A new Toronto was produced - a city where the condition of living became a process of negotiation and where attempts were made to avoid any act that would qualify as `conspicuous'.

The result of reading Graham's Cities Under Siege is an immediate reassessment of that initial reaction. In light of an overwhelming amount of research and carefully considered theoretical applications to linked trends in security and the production of the visible citizen, the events of the G20 appear to be relatively mundane. Graham's uncovering of the mechanisms being developed and the general approach to the control of urban populations - typically in political climates that are inherently distrustful of cities - opens up the question of how the contemporary condition of urbanity functions on political and sociopolitical levels.

In Society Must Be Defended (Allen Lane, 2004) Michel Foucault argued that while colonial powers undeniably transplanted their values and governing practices to the cultures they invaded, newly developed techniques of control that were the result of colonial practices would often be carried back to the domestic sphere. Foucault called this returning flow of strategies of control and domination `boomerang effects'. Graham tracks this recognition down to the current modifications taking place in the larger Western cities today.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Katarina Svitkova on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
An extraordinarily interesting, well written and informative piece, I recommend it to people interested in urban securitization. Lots of surprising and insightful comments, inspiration for further research.
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12 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Graham Jenkins on October 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Graham's book is sweeping in its generalizations, its implications, and its conclusions. It broadly traces the rise of the city in military and popular conception as a hotbed of vice and perversion, as a target for military operations, and as an increasingly oppressed environment for its citizens. Cities Under Siege is split into sections covering such phenomenon of urban militarization as the rise of the SUV ("Car Wars"), autonomous drones and robot warfare ("Robowar Dreams"), the destruction and replanning of cities ("Lessons in Urbicide"), recreated urban training centers ("Theme Park Archipelago") and the nexus of the "military-industrial-media-entertainment network." It's a mouthful, as is much of this book.

Cities Under Siege is extensively footnoted - one might say too extensively, as Graham's own thoughts and writings tend to disappear into the morass of impenetrable academic and philosophical gobbledy-gook. The entire book averages almost four footnotes a page (1,386 footnotes in 385 pages), but few are explanatory, and few back up original thought. Instead, he seems to need these references to provide him with the very phrasing of the book - and most of them don't deserve any reproduction. Why is this Chris Hedges sentence worth reprinting?

"[The new wars] take the form of mediatized mechanisms and are ordered as massive intrusions into visual culture, which are conflated with, and substitute for, the actual materiality and practices of the public sphere."

Graham has a puzzling attachments to all the nonsense phrases that warn of an Orwellian future ahead - but one wonders if any of his sources have read "Politics and the English Language.
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7 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Eric Parr on November 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought the book out of pure interest in the subject, and Graham does deliver a comprehensive treatment to the matter. This said, the style and language used in the book was unnecessarily complex and far too academic. If the issues addressed in this book are important enough to warrant 400 pages, and I believe they are, why not bring the language down to a readable level. I made it through the book, only through willpower and coffee. For those like me who have an interest in this subject and geography, I think you will still find the book useful.

Note to Graham, get a better editor and lose your thesaurus.
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