Posts Tagged ‘urban destruction’

Negev demolition: Israel’s politics of builiding

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Yesterday’s Guardian carries video and comment regarding the demolition of a Bedouin village in the Negev region of Israel. Neve Gordon provocatively refers to the razing of this village as ‘ethnic cleansing’, arguing that it is evidence of the state of Israel’s desire to ‘Judaise’ the Negev. The description of the demolition of residential structures and the uprooting of trees certainly indicates an attempt to prevent the Bedouin establishing a claim to territory that Israel regards as its own (and thus, following the logic of Zionism, as Jewish). Building is a primary way in which identity and territory can be linked since dwelling establishes a durable relationship between individuals and the place they reside in. Given that ethnic cleansing is defined by its assumed linkage of identity and territory one can understand how Gordon comes to his conclusion. However striking this claim might be, however, to my mind it obscures the deeper politics of administrative demolition in Israel.

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Imagining urban cataclysm

Monday, November 16th, 2009
On Thursday and Friday (19th & 20th November) I will be at the World Politics and Popular Culture conference organised by Newcastle University Politics staff Simon Philpott, Matt Davies and Kyle Grayson. The conference will explore the manner in which

popular culture become[s] a series of sites at which political meaning is made, where political contestation takes place and where political orthodoxy is reproduced and challenged

I will be giving a paper entitled Zombies and flesh eaters: imagining urban cataclysm in the era of metropolitanisation.

The paper will discuss the relation between the politics of global urbanisation and representations of urban cataclysm in the film 28 Days Later, video game Resident Evil; and Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. I argue that novels, films and games are textual artefacts embedded in complex assemblages of things, signs, meanings and affects. As such they are mutually imbricated with the dynamics of delineation and contestation we refer to as ‘politics’.

The paper discusses two particular ideas arising from a reading of these texts:

28 Days Later Poster
The Road

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Anniversaries of urban destruction: Berlin & Mostar

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Yesterday marked two important anniversaries for the destruction of urban fabric. On the one hand there were prominent commemoration ceremonies to mark the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. 9th November 1989 was the date on which border security was eased and freedom of movement across the wall was allowed. 9th November thus marks the date on which the wall’s dividing power – ostensibly the purpose that gave the structure meaning – ended. It is thus the anniversary of a symbolic destruction. (more…)