Foucault’s Boomerang: Colonialism and the New Urban Militarism


Stephen Graham published “Foucault’s Boomerang: The New Military Urbanism” on Thursday, February 14.

Graham, a professor of Urban Technology as Newcastle University in England, discusses Hannah Arendt’s idea of the “boomerang effect” of colonialism and its implications for Foucauldian biopolitics. Arguing that technologies of domination abroad boomerang back to the colonizer, Graham locates the seeds of the police response to activists in the financial centers of London and New York in Iraq and the West Bank:

 Constructions of ‘security zones’ around the strategic financial cores of London and New York echo the techniques used in Baghdad’s Green zone. And many of the techniques used to fortify enclaves in Baghdad or the West Bank are being sold around the world as leading-edge and ‘combat-proven’ ‘security solutions’ by corporate coalitions linking Israeli, US and other companies and states.

Graham goes on to discuss the internalization of Edward Said’s notion of Orientalism:

The imaginations of urban life in colonized zones interacts powerfully with that in the cities of the colonisers. Indeed, the projection of colonial tropes and security exemplars into postcolonial metropoles in capitalist heartlands is fuelled by a new ‘inner city Orientalism’.

Via OpenDemocracy