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Memory and mortality at the bombsite

Death is simultaneously silent, and very loud, in political life. Politicians and media scream about potential threats lurking behind every corner, but academic discourse often neglects mortality. Life is everywhere in theorisation of security, but death is nowhere.

Making a bold intervention into the Critical Security Studies literature, this book explores the ontological relationship between mortality and security after the Death of God – arguing that security emerged in response to the removal of promises to immortal salvation. Combining the mortality theories of Heidegger and Bauman with literature from the sociology of death, Heath-Kelly shows how security is a response to the death anxiety implicit within the human condition.

The book explores the theoretical literature on mortality before undertaking a comparative exploration of the memorialisation of four prominent post-terrorist sites: the World Trade Center in New York, the Bali bombsite, the London bombings and the Norwegian sites attacked by Anders Breivik. By interviewing the architects and designers of these reconstruction projects, Heath-Kelly shows that practices of memorialization are a retrospective security endeavour – they conceal and re-narrate the traumatic incursion of death. Disaster recovery is replete with security practices that return mortality to its sublimated position and remove the disruption posed by mortality to political authority.

The book will be of significant interest to academics and postgraduates working in the fields of Critical Security Studies, Memory Studies and International Politics.

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Disaster recovery and the World Trade Center
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

, timelines and bodies, to produce an image of adaptive immortality contra death. Thus, emergency response performs the receding emergency to simulate the existence of certainty, cohesion and authority. It defeats death through in-the-moment performance of the emergency’s end; emergency management is a security practice that reconstitutes the authority of the sovereign. Disaster recovery, the subject of this

in Death and security
Matthew Hunt, Sharon O’Brien, Patrick Cadwell, and Dónal P. O’Mathúna

Translation , pp. 501 – 11 . Madianou , M. , Ong , J. C. , Longboan , L. and Cornelio , J. C. ( 2016 ), ‘ The Appearance of Accountability: Communication Technologies and Power Asymmetries in Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Recovery

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Pathologising security through Lacanian desire
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

ontological relationship between security and death. Chapters 3 to 6 then moved from disaster management (present-tense security) to explore the variegated practices of disaster recovery . In these empirical chapters, memorialisation dynamics performed upon – or near – disaster space were interrogated for signs of retrospective security practice. Disaster recovery identifies

in Death and security
Norwegian experiences of death and security
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

then ‘secures through the failure to secure’ (Heath-Kelly 2015a ): re-narrating a horrific event as evidence of resilience and national endurance. Trauma is folded into architecture to diminish its power (Lundborg 2012 ). This cynical co-option of postmodern design themes can be understood as the bolstering of sovereignty during a period of disaster recovery. Such memorialisation

in Death and security
Memory and security without visibility
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

disaster recovery process. It argues that the London bombings – having left no damage upon the visible landscape (except the No. 30 bus in Tavistock Square, which was removed not long after) – have resulted in an ambiguous climate of haunting and forgetfulness in the capital. There is no spatial context for the disruption of the symbolic order, given that most of the destruction occurred underground, yet

in Death and security
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

‘full’ subjects, in terms of the hierarchy of subjectivity employed within resilience documentation. They are defined in terms of what they lack (Bulley 2013 ). These ‘vulnerable’ persons and communities are the subject of resilient planning for disaster recovery – not the hazard event; they must be trained to cope with their precarity and to demonstrate resilient behaviours. Deploying the ideological

in Death and security
Disaster management
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

management happens in the present tense. However, despite this ambiguity, emergency management is embedded within security policies of disaster recovery. In this chapter, emergency management is exposed as a technique of mortality effacement. To set the scene for this exploration, it must be made clear that I am not discussing the more prominent conceptualisation of emergency response as the imagination of

in Death and security
Itinerant death at the Ground Zero Mosque and Bali bombsite
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

purpose of disaster recovery operations and was thus officially incorporated into the ‘sacred’ space associated with the 9/11 attacks. It became part of Ground Zero though official designation. Furthermore, beyond official processes, non-state actors have also applied discourses of sacredness to the landfill that mutate the original spatial location of Ground Zero. The activism of groups such as WTC

in Death and security
Josef W. Konvitz

improvements for disaster prevention and post-disaster recovery which incorporate the lessons from disasters as they occur may be sufficient. This chapter however is grounded on a different set of assumptions, that catastrophes have become more frequent and more damaging, that the systemic links between different parts of the global urban economy are more visibly exposed to risks, that the sheer scale of urbanization changes the calculation of risks and costs, and that the long-term impact of the crisis of 2008 cannot be so casually set to one side when considering the

in Cities and crisis