State of Exception Cities: 2013 Boston and Istanbul

“Throughout this conversation with Philippe Theophanidis, we examine two paradigmatic historical examples of cities in the state of exception. We begin with Boston, invested by 2,500 police officers, swat teams and national guard during the manhunt that followed the marathon bombings in April 2013. We particularly examine the legal regime that allowed this deployment to happen, while inhabitants were forced to stay in their homes, many of which were searched. We then talk about Istanbul, a few months later (summer 2013), during Occupy Gezi and the systematic use of tear gas by the suppressive police forces. We use this example to talk about the biopolitics of this state of exception and the policed control of the breathable atmosphere, a notion particularly expressed by the American political movement of Black Lives Matter after an unarmed African American man, Eric Garner was strangle to death by a white Staten Island police officer, while screaming “I can’t breathe.”


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