We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham Global Security Institute

Violence and (In-)security in the City: Cities of Violence - Violence of Cities

International Workshop at Durham University, UK, 22-23 June 2017

Call for Papers:

An increasing number of studies investigate urban violence and urban security. They shed light on the multiple forms and complexity of urban violence, ranging from individualized forms of domestic violence and homicides to collective violence in the form of demonstrations, riots, youth and gang violence and urban warfare. While the study of violence shows a tendency to focus on the extraordinary and spectacular, feminist studies have drawn attention to the familiar and ordinary forms of (not only domestic) violence that are so often overlooked, although they are deeply embedded in the everyday lives of many city dwellers. There is also a growing number of studies that explore the (often privatized) security arrangements and technologies that aim to make cities safer and how they shape and control city life.

In most of these studies, the city is conceptualized as a background for violence or security. Violence is seen as taking place in the city. We invite researchers to think from another angle: to explore how violence is of the city (Fuccaro 2016), and thus shaped and produced by the particular characteristics of the urban, its morphology, density, compactness, mobility, or by its concentration of political and economic power. At the same time, we invite papers that explore how the city is of violence, that is, how the city is shaped, changed and continuously reproduced by past and contemporary experiences of violence. Examples are manifold and include the emergence of city enclaves characterized by an ‘architecture of fear’ (Elin 1997) or the violent production of urban segregation alongside ethnic, religious or other divisions.

In order to provide an explorative workshop, we invite papers from a broad range of disciplines (including, but not limited to, history, geography, anthropology, sociology, economics, international relations, security, urban studies and architecture). Papers may focus on the how particular characteristics of cities produce and shape violence (including state violence), and vice versa: how violence produces and shapes the city, historically and contemporarily.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 7 April 2017

We particularly invite papers that:

  • explore everyday experiences, rhythms and geographies of urban violence: We aim to explore violence, including violent forms of urban governance, from the perspective of those experiencing the violence, independent of whether that is as perpetrators, victims, bystanders, or those more indirectly affected. This section asks how people experience, talk about, and deal with forms of urban violence in the everyday and the analysis of the impact of violence on urban practices. It thus studies the strategies that people develop to enhance their security. As violence is both bodily and spatial, a particular interest is on how violence is engendered in bodily movements, how it changes the rhythm of these movements and how this relates to the (re-)production of urban spaces (often dynamic with different meanings for various social bodies, and at different times). Another angle can be on past experiences of violence and memory politics, and how they are contested, anchored in, produce meaning and shape particular places (for example, the erection of monuments, cemeteries).
  • use comparative and/or transnational approaches: We invite papers that compare particular types of violence (riots, popular protest and violent demonstrations, looting, terrorist attacks) and their relation to the cities. Alternatively, we welcome papers that compare city types (such as industrial cities, port cities, war cities, borderland/frontier cities) or city locations (slums, other residential areas, parks/public spaces, business districts, shopping malls/districts) and analyse their relation to violence. That is, do these city types/locations create particular spaces of conflict, turmoil and violence? Alternatively, from a security angle, the (violent) security techniques that aim to control and manipulate urban space. There is a particular interest in comparative studies that transcend the North-South divide, and on papers that move beyond the boundaries of the city and explore cityscapes and networks of contestation, protest and violence that connect people across cities, countries or regions.
  • explore the relation between knowledge, expertise, learning and violence: urbanization was accompanied by the development of statistics, registers and other technologies of surveillance and control that contributed to a redefinition of morality and led to new understandings and practices of welfare, security and urban planning. Knowledge of the city, its demography, morphology and materiality is a crucial element for the organization and conduct of violence and control, be it of state or non-state actors. Additionally, studies have emphasized violence as a form of communication, which carries meaning, demands interpretation and is thus itself a producer of knowledge. We invite studies that explore the relations of violence and knowledge in the city and of the city - that is, how city knowledge is used to produce violence and contributes to violence learning, and how violence itself produces knowledge, shapes learning experiences, and is transformed into city knowledge.

Abstracts have an upper limit of 2000 words. The following information must also be included: name, position, affiliation and e-mail address. Please submit the abstracts to, with the subject heading City Violence.

The workshop will be organized in thematic sessions with stimulating discussions. Participants are expected to submit papers of around 5000 words. The deadline for submission of full papers is 1 June 2017 (three weeks prior to the workshop). This enables participants to engage with the topics prior to the workshop, and allows the workshop presentations to be kept short.

The workshop is explorative on these novel issues, aiming towards an edited volume or a joint special issue journal publication.


There is some funding available for compensation of part of the travel and/or hotel costs of paper providers. The exact amount available will be determined after participants are confirmed (depending on the number of participants and where they travel from). Please indicate at the end of your abstract if you will receive institutional funding for participation in the workshop.


The workshop is jointly organized by Jutta Bakonyi (, Durham University and Kirsti Stuvøy (, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.