Monthly Archives: December 2015

Emerging Urbanities – lunch seminar: Predatory security: Reshaping the city and the state in Mozambique

Photo: Ivar Fjeld

By Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, associate professor, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen

Time: December 15, 1200-1330

Place: UNI Rokkan centre, floor



Bjørn_enge_bertelsen_pressebilde_UiB_mars_2010Notions and practices of security colonise both state and urban contexts across Africa. Arguably, these notions and practices are also integral to wider global political formations where urban formations in Africa are often cast as pre-figuring the shape of future global cities more generally. Based on fieldworks in the Mozambican cities of Maputo and Chimoio, this paper sees security there as related to violent crime and capital accumulation in ways that undermine policy-oriented representations of security provision as solely undertaken by state police supplemented by neoliberal assemblages of security companies.

Rather, and more specifically, the paper shows how security is not only subjected to a spatialized logic of race and social control but also renders violence – in all its forms – central to its exercise and cosmologies. This point will be emphasised by analysing how various forms of policing must be understood beyond the security-development nexus. These forms of policing increasingly involve a gradual emergence of what I call ‘predatory security’ that is central to violent modes of capital accumulation that shape African urban landscapes as well as define the contours of the state. The paper suggests that as a configuration of accumulative violence such predatory security has consequences for how we should approach calls for rights to the city as well as the state in urban African orders and beyond.

Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, associate professor, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, has researched issues such as state formation, violence, poverty and rural-urban connections in Mozambique since 1998. Bertelsen has published extensively internationally and is publishing the monograph Violent Becomings: State Formation, Culture and Power in Mozambique (Berghahn Books, 2016) and has co-edited the anthologies Crisis of the State: War and Social Upheaval (with Bruce Kapferer, Berghahn Books, [2009] 2012) and Navigating Colonial Orders: Norwegian Entrepreneurship in Africa and Oceania, ca. 1850 to 1950 (with Kirsten Alsaker Kjerland, Berghahn Books, 2015).

Trial lecture and public defence: Marry-Anne Karlsen

Marry-Anne Karlsen, Department of Social Anthropology and part of IMER network, will give a trial lecture for the PhD degree on the assigned topic:

Could the concept of “precarious inclusion” also be used (in Norway and beyond) to rethink other forms of inclusive exclusion, such as the labor of irregularized migrants who, in contrast, may be considered to be rather productive “others”?

The title of her thesis is:

“Precarious Inclusion. Irregular migration, practice of care, and state b/ordering in Norway”

  • Time: Thursday, December 10th, 2015 15:15 p.m.
  • Place: Auditorium at Ulrike Pihls hus, Prof. Keysers gt. 1



  • Time: Friday, December 11th, 2015, 10.15 a.m.
  • Place: Auditorium at Ulrike Pihls hus, Prof. Keysers gt. 1


Opponents for the public defence:

  • First opponent: Professor Nicholas de Genova, Kings College London
  • Second opponent: Associate Professo Heide Castañeda, University of South Florida
  • The third member of the committee is: Professor Andrew Lattas, UiB
  • The public defence will be chaired by Professor Leif Ove Larsen

The event is open to the public