Architectures of security

Uploaded by UniversityOfBristol on 23.03.2012

My name is Mark Duffield.
I'm Professor of Development Politics
and Director of the Global Insecurities Centre
in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
My name is Nada Ghandour-Demiri.
I'm a PhD candidate in SPAIS.
My PhD
looks at non-violent resistance against Israeli occupation
and I'm interested specifically at how unarmed Palestinians and Israelis
try to defy sophisticated mechanisms
of population management. For example,
I'm interested in actions like weekly demonstrations against the war
and the freedom flotilla that tried
to break the siege on Gaza. Rather than an effort
to advocate a right or wrong way to resist,
I'm trying to understand and problematise
the politics that are behind these resistant actions.
MARK: Working with PhD students
can be very exciting and fruitful,
especially when there's an overlap of some form in the kind of research
that you're doing. The thing I like about Nada's work
was the spatial element to it, the architectural form
of control management
that one can see in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,
the use of walls, the use of physical structures.
NADA: First of all, I'm a Palestinian myself.
During my undergraduate studies in Beirut, I started visiting
the Palestinian refugee camps there
and I was very struck by the living conditions
under which they were living.
So, it was a life-changing experience for me.
The architectures of control, such as fences and walls
that we see in this conflict act as a way of policing circulation,
have become an emerging global phenomenon,
and they have proliferated
in very different environments.
MARK: This ties in with my interest
in urban fragmentation,
the polarisation between public and private space,
and, in this current research,
the meaning of the fortified aid compound,
the aid compound as a form of architecture of aid,
if there is such a thing. I think it's those synergies
between our work which I find really interesting.
I learn a lot from Nada -
the fact that she's able to visit places that I can't go to
and see things that I can't see.
The other thing that's coming out
is the trend towards the bunkerisation of aid
in many areas of the developing world
can't be separated from the global trend towards the fragmentation
of the urban environment
and the appearance of so-called "gated communities",
which is now a global phenomenon.
The thing that unifies the global and the individual level,
I think, is the shift towards resilience.
"Resilience" is being embraced as the latest buzzword,
but we have to set it in context.
Resilience seems to rear its head
when all other forms of social protection
that we took for granted are being stripped away
and people are expected to be increasingly resilient
in the modern world because they're increasingly on their own.
I'm not sure whether that's an intrinsic
attribute of the external world
or whether it's actually something that's been emerging politically,
that it's a process of the political decisions that are being taken
at many different levels.