This article focuses on the emergence of a new pattern of black urban insurgency emerging in major US metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia. I locate this pattern in the context of a new securitization regime that I call “antisocial security.” This regime works by establishing a decentered system of high-tech forms of surveillance and monitory techniques. I highlight the dialectic between the extension of antisocial security apparatuses and techniques into new political and social domains on the one hand and the adoption of these same techniques by those contesting racialized exclusions from urban public space on the other. I end the article with a discussion of how we might adapt the commons concept to consider the centrality of race and racism to this new securitization regime.
Black urban insurgency and antisocial security in twenty-first-century Philadelphia
The changing contours of the hegemonic field in the twenty-first-century United States
Gavin Smith’s (2014) Intellectuals and (Counter-) Politics is a tour de force. It calls for anthropology to attend more carefully to the history of moves by the dominant capitalist blocs to enhance the conditions for their own reproduction and to the ways in which different subordinated and subaltern groups respond to these moves. This is, of course, a well-established line of inquiry. Yet, in Intellectuals, Smith breathes new life into an intellectual project that has been sidelined in recent years, as other preoccupations take hold in the discipline of anthropology and beyond. Smith rethinks what is meant by realist history, arming a new generation of insurgent scholars, readers, and activists, inside and outside the academy with a new set of intellectual priorities. The book thus exemplifies the best kind of politicized writing in anthropology and in other disciplines.