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Enclaves, insecurity and violence in Karachi

Kaker, Sobia Ahmad (2014) Enclaves, insecurity and violence in Karachi. South Asian History and Culture, 5 (1). pp. 93-107. ISSN 1947-2498

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Identification Number: 10.1080/19472498.2013.863016


This article presents conditions of insecurity and violence in Karachi in relation to an emerging geography whereby the city is fragmented into various enclaves of business, leisure and residence. Such enclaves have proliferated as a response to impotent public security in the face of rising urban violence and insecurity. Focusing on residential enclaves, which are primarily privately securitized spaces that attempt to restrict unwanted circulation, I emphasize the paradox of Karachi’s enclavization. Although the city is fast morphing into an archipelago of enclaves, Karachi continues to be drawn into a vortex of violence, and residents remain insecure. In this article, I investigate this paradox through a relational study of enclavization, insecurity and violence. I argue although enclaves in Karachi emerge as a tactic to deal with everyday insecurity and violence, the socio-political conditions generated by processes of enclavization create circumstances that produce a continuum of violence. This argument is illustrated through an analysis of two case studies, Clifton Block 7 and Sultanabad, which are both residential enclaves within Karachi. The case studies are an output of qualitative field research that focused on the politics of everyday life within enclaved spaces in relation to the city ‘outside’. Analysis demonstrates that enclaves are spaces of subjectivity that also create contradictions of security and insecurity, and generate vulnerabilities of inclusion and exclusion. The article also demonstrates how such enclaves emerge as urban political actors that shift existing state–society relations. In conclusion, it presents a critical analysis of emerging connections between enclavization and insecurity, which proves that the causes and consequences of enclaves, insecurity and violence exist in a continuum.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: LSE Cities
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2014 11:15
Last Modified: 21 May 2024 20:24

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