English · Português
ISSN 0102-8529 (Impresso)
1982-0240 (Online)
PUC-Rio - Página inicial Instituto de Relações Internacionais Revista Contexto Internacional

Vol. 39, N° 3, 2017

Militarising Mumbai? The ‘Politics’ of Response. Mumbai Must be Secured. Now!

Rhys Machold


This article focuses on how urban security has been governed in Mumbai in the aftermath of the 2008 terrorist attacks (26/11). The event was widely cited as a major turning point in the securitisation and militarisation of Indian cities. It also produced significant political upheaval, which in turn generated calls for a major institutional overhaul of the governmental architecture for handling terrorism. This article takes the political and policy repercussions of 26/11 as an intervention into critical debates about the (para-)militarisation of policing and the politics of urban security. Here I shift the focus from the disciplinary and divisive effects of policies towards an emphasis on their spectacular and theatrical dimensions. If we are to make sense of the ‘militarised’ focus of the policy response to 26/11, I argue, we need to take seriously its populist, aspirational qualities.

Keywords: Counter-terrorism; Policing; Securitisation; Spectacle; Performativity.

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