Security Provision and Governing Processes in Fragile Cities of the Global South: The case of Medellin 2002-2012
SupervisorPearce, Jenny V.
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KeywordsUrban security; Urban south; Governmentality; Medellin; Urban violence; Ungoverned areas; State-building
The University of Bradford theses are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentDepartment of Peace Studies
The incidence of violence and the configuration of areas of instability, which have accompanied rapid urbanisation processes in the global South, have led to a wide range of responses by state authorities at different levels. These responses include attempts to control, prevent and/or manage various forms of violence and crime. An emerging literature on urban security aims to improve our understanding of public security provision in volatile urban contexts in the global South. This literature has so far been dominated by policy-oriented and state-centric analyses, as well as by critiques of the way neoliberal governance is shaping responses to urban instability. These analytical approaches tend to ignore the political aspects and governmental consequences of security provision in fragile cities. This thesis argues that Foucault’s work on governmentality and ethnographic methodologies offer analytical and methodological tools that can help us address limitations in predominant analytical frameworks and contribute to fill gaps in the literature. The thesis develops an alternative critical approach to the study of urban security using those tools and employs it to investigate security provision in Medellin. This alternative approach focuses on the way security shapes governing processes in particular contexts and on their implications for those who are most vulnerable to urban fragility. Moreover, the thesis uses this innovative approach to investigate the security strategy implemented in Medellin since 2002, as part of what has come to be known as the ‘Medellin Model’. By exploring this particularly relevant case, this thesis highlights the significance of undertaking empirical explorations of the rationality of security strategies in different urban contexts and the importance of taking into account people´s differentiated experiences of security provision. Furthermore, this thesis argues that this alternative approach helps us understand the way power is exercised for particular purposes and on particular subjects in an attempt to deal with urban violence and insecurity. It also argues for the inclusion of these dimensions in contemporary studies of urban security in the global South.