The Empire's New Walls

Overview

This dissertation examines the relationship between neo-liberal restructuring, political transition, and the reorganization of urban space in Palestine/Israel and South Africa over the last 20 years. My research combines comparative historical, ethnographic, and visual methodologies, and is located at the intersection of three sociological literatures: neo-liberalism and empire; sovereignty and state formation; and the spatial turn in the social sciences. I begin by demonstrating that neither the Oslo peace ...
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Overview

This dissertation examines the relationship between neo-liberal restructuring, political transition, and the reorganization of urban space in Palestine/Israel and South Africa over the last 20 years. My research combines comparative historical, ethnographic, and visual methodologies, and is located at the intersection of three sociological literatures: neo-liberalism and empire; sovereignty and state formation; and the spatial turn in the social sciences. I begin by demonstrating that neither the Oslo peace process nor the transition from apartheid to democracy can be understood apart from the neo-liberalization of the South African and Israeli economies. The two states have followed similar paths from racial Fordism to neo-liberalism, but the South African state was democratized while Israel simply restructured its occupation. I then examine the impact of these large-scale processes on the spatial restructuring of Johannesburg and Jerusalem. Analyzing the interplay between state formation, capital accumulation, social movements, and everyday life practices, I argue that the construction of walled enclosures in both cities is a response to the inequality and insecurity caused by neo-liberal restructuring. But these enclosures have taken different forms---privatized in Johannesburg and state-centered in Jerusalem---due to the divergent trajectories of political restructuring in the two states. Throughout the dissertation, I argue that urban restructuring in Johannesburg and Jerusalem as well as the broader political and economic transitions in South Africa and Palestine/Israel helped produce a fundamental shift in global power relations. This imperial transition constitutes an important shift in world-historical time and helps explain important differences between the Bantustan strategy in apartheid-era South Africa and the enclosure strategy in contemporary Palestine/Israel. I end with an analysis of the ongoing crises of regulation that have generated insecurity for everyone in South Africa, Palestine/Israel, and throughout the empire. Racialized discourses of crime and terrorism magnify the perception of threat, obscure the causes of insecurity, and provide a mechanism for policing the crisis.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781244007536
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/11/2011
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.81 (d)

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