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Bodies, bombs and barricades: geographies of conflict and civilian (in)security

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Abstract:

This article critically examines the entanglements between ‘security’ and the geopolitical and geo-economic formations that assist in the cyclical continuation of conflict. The author questions the biopolitical configurations of state and private forms of militarised security. The author’s approach to this research addresses the spatial and corporeal aspects of civilian security in contemporary conflicts zones – with a specific focus on Afghanistan. Drawing on the work of feminist political geographers, this article highlights the corporeal as a key site of analysis for the everyday and seemingly apolitical spaces occupied by civilians living amidst political conflict. This descriptive analysis of security and insecurity focuses on four specific areas: (1) Afghan civilian security measures, (2) domestic spaces as sites of security and violence, (3) mobile forms of security and insecurity and (4) the divergent perceptions and experiences of security/insecurity between international civilian workers living in Afghanistan and Afghan civilian citizens. While macro-scale analyses of security and civilian agency in various locations are important for geographic inquiry, it remains imperative that geographers and other social scientists examine the particularities of specific conflict sites and situations in order to avoid one-size-fits-all responses to or analyses of political conflict – and subsequently flattening civilian experiences through aggregated forms of knowledge production. This paper seeks to investigate several key aspects of feminist political geography by examining the multiple and varied experiences of the everyday within this conflict zone.

Keywords: Afghanistan; bodies; domestic spaces; feminist geopolitics; gender; geographies of security

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-5661.2010.00422.x

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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