Security and the city: Post-colonial accumulation, securitization, and urban development in Kolkata

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksChapterpeer-review


The chapter explores the interconnected issues of accumulation, securitization, and governmentality in the context of transformation of the city of Kolkata into a ‘world-class’ metropolis. In both academic and common languages, securitization has rapidly embraced a wider meaning; this includes the increasing emphasis on security in the political debate and the growth of a global security apparatus. In this chapter, the author discusses securitization in relation to what have recently been described as ‘operations of capital’, which include the functions of extraction, logistics, and finance that are crucial in understanding how global capital works. The author investigates the security industry and urban changes in Kolkata and explores urban securitization as a global capitalistic process. Based on interviews with the relevant actors, both in the security industry including workers, managers, and advisors, and in the urban transformation sector that included developers, residents, and local authorities, and archival research and discourse analysis of relevant documents, the author argues that securitization, besides supporting and complementing the processes of accumulation over cities, constitutes a space of intense accumulation itself. But simultaneously, it becomes crucial for governance of a contradictory and contended urban space. The market- oriented interventions on the city have allowed for an impressive growth of the security business. Yet, the process of securitization has exceeded the pattern of urban development. It has become a powerful industry, as well as a strategy for management of at least two principal effects of accumulation: dispossession and disruption.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAccumulation in Post-Colonial Capitalism
EditorsIman Kumar Mitra, Ranabir Samaddar, Samita Sen
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Publication date01.01.2016
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-1036-1, 978-981-10-9312-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-1037-8
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2016
Externally publishedYes