Cities at War

Global Insecurity and Urban Resistance

Edited by Mary Kaldor and Saskia Sassen

Columbia University Press

Cities at War

Pub Date: March 2020

ISBN: 9780231185394

264 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: March 2020

ISBN: 9780231185387

264 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£74.00

Pub Date: March 2020

ISBN: 9780231546133

264 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

Cities at War

Global Insecurity and Urban Resistance

Edited by Mary Kaldor and Saskia Sassen

Columbia University Press

Warfare in the twenty-first century goes well beyond conventional armies and nation-states. In a world of diffuse conflicts taking place across sprawling cities, war has become fragmented and uneven to match its settings. Yet the analysis of failed states, civil war, and state building rarely considers the city, rather than the country, as the terrain of battle.

In Cities at War, Mary Kaldor and Saskia Sassen assemble an international team of scholars to examine cities as sites of contemporary warfare and insecurity. Reflecting Kaldor’s expertise on security cultures and Sassen’s perspective on cities and their geographies, they develop new insight into how cities and their residents encounter instability and conflict, as well as the ways in which urban forms provide possibilities for countering violence. Through a series of case studies of cities including Baghdad, Bogotá, Ciudad Juarez, Kabul, and Karachi, the book reveals the unequal distribution of insecurity as well as how urban capabilities might offer resistance and hope. Through analyses of how contemporary forms of identity, inequality, and segregation interact with the built environment, Cities at War explains why and how political violence has become increasingly urbanized. It also points toward the capacity of the city to shape a different kind of urban subjectivity that can serve as a foundation for a more peaceful and equitable future.
Conflict, armed violence, and military interventions are brutal facts of life in cities throughout the world. While some commentators proclaim that cities can take up governance where states fail, or even that mayors might rule the world, reality is more complex. This book is a crucial guide to the reality of urban insecurity—and urban capabilities to cope with insecurity. Its cases come mainly from less rich countries with more or less manifest wars—but the issues considered matter everywhere.
Sobering but with seams of hope, Cities at War brings together a state-of-the-art collection providing rich analysis of diverse contemporary cities embattled by insecurity, not just as urban theaters of violence or sites of broader conflicts but rather as places of human hankering and ingenious inventiveness and where cities themselves 'talk back.'
Urbanization is spreading and conflict in urban areas changes the nature of war. Urbanists, peacekeepers, and military strategists should read this book. There are positive and negative lessons to be learned.
Thinking about war is too often trapped by the idea of a 'battlefield'—literally an open space in which social geographies are suspended for the duration of an armed contest. In this innovative volume, Mary Kaldor and Saskia Sassen fuse the paradigms of 'new war' and 'urban capabilities' to illuminate how urbanization transforms the conduct of war, societal survival during war, and resistance to war.
Cities at War places important questions about how contemporary wars are affecting cities on the intellectual map via a well-chosen collection of case studies that convey the variety of urban experiences of warfare, violence, and avoidance of violence in the twenty-first century. This effective study offers a rich contribution to the field.

About the Author

Mary Kaldor is professor of global governance and director of the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics. She is the coeditor of The Quest for Security: Protection Without Protectionism and the Challenge for Global Governance (Columbia, 2013, with Joseph Stiglitz) and the author of New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era (2012, third edition) and Global Security Cultures (2018) among other works.

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and a member of the Committee for Global Thought at Columbia University. She is the author of many books, including Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (2014), The Global City (2001, second edition), and Cities in a World Economy (2018, fifth edition).