Militarised violence in the service of state-imposed emergencies over Palestine and Kenya

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Annie Pfingst


States of Emergency are declared against the disorder-ing of state sovereign power by acts of resistance, rebellion and revolt and are characterised by the technologies of control, containment and punishment. Through spatial, archival and visual encounters with emergency landscapes and the geographies of resistance, the essay considers the historic and contemporary operations, provisions, regulations and practices authorised under state-imposed emergencies. It does so in order firstly, to bring attention to the practices authorised through state-imposed emergencies and the currency and saliency of their ongoing effects, and secondly to re-frame the militarised violence of settlement/occupation as an integral part of state-imposed emergencies in which all that is necessary will be done to protect the sovereign state from the resistance of the colonised/occupied and to effect a return to ‘order’.  


Through encounters with the archival record, and the architectures, remnants and territorial arrangements found in post-colonial Kenya and across the multiple geographies of Palestine, the essay draws out seven clusters of state imposed emergency practices and effects. The work grapples with a number of questions: what is it that a declared state of emergency performs for the state? Does a state of emergency enable particular forms of militarised violence? Are there common practices to be found across different modes of state-imposed emergencies? What is the genealogy to the states of emergency across Palestine and Kenya? Does our excavation of the practices of state-imposed emergency shed light on the ways we apprehend state violence in colonial, post-colonial and neo-colonial geographies? 

Article Details

Articles (refereed)
Author Biography

Annie Pfingst, Goldsmiths, University of London

Visiting Research Fellow, Unit of Play, Sociology, Goldsmiths, Univesrity of London


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