Topographies of security and the multiple spatialities of (conservation) T power: Verticality, surveillance, and space-time compression in the bush

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Abstract

This article advances the analytic of topography to account for vertical and horizontal dimensions of space, power, and the ways in which they articulate with biophysical and political-ecological dynamics to (re)-shape socio-spatial and socio-natural relations. While commonly used to refer to the horizontal, vertical, and en- vironmental features of a particular landscape, social scientists use the language of topography to understand the connections between spaces, processes, and power dynamics. I combine these literal and metaphorical under- standings of topography to examine how multiple dimensions of space and power coalesce to protect certain bodies, police others, and secure the space within each move. In response to increases in commercial poaching, for example, conservation-security actors are increasingly going aerial to mobilise the vertical as a dimension of space and power to protect wildlife, neutralise those who threaten them, and ultimately secure conservation areas below. Verticality thus becomes important as both an empirical and analytical phenomenon that matters for understanding shifting power dynamics in contexts where actors seek to secure space and resources from perceived threats. But, the vertical does not exist on its own. It is in the interaction of the horizontal, vertical, and political-ecological dynamics of protected areas that conservation-related power-geometries are altered. A to- pographical analysis results in a nuanced understanding of how power and related security practices and technologies work to (re-)shape human environment and territorial relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-64
JournalPolitical Geography
Volume67
Early online date11 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

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