Saskia Sassen | August 4, 2020 | IISS

Historically, cities have been targets for external attack. From the 20th century, however, wars have been fought within cities – seen recently in urban conflicts involving non-state armed groups in Iraq, Syria and Libya. This has aggravated the socio-economic and political challenges arising from rapid urbanisation in the affected areas.

The speakers discuss how these tensions within cities affect irregular warfare as the world continues to urbanise, drawing on case studies from their recent edited volume Cities at War: Global Insecurity and Urban Resistance.

Mary Kaldor is a Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit in the LSE Department of International Development. Professor Kaldor directs the unit’s largest research project, the Conflict Research Programme, an international DFID-funded partnership investigating public authority across a range of countries in Africa and the Middle East. She was also a member of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo. Professor Kaldor pioneered the concept of new wars, and her books include New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global EraGlobal Civil Society: An Answer to War and Human Security: Reflections on Globalization and Intervention.

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and a member of its Committee on Global Thought. She researches cities, immigration and states in the world economy, with inequality, gendering and digitisation as three key variables. She has received many awards and honours, among them multiple doctor honoris causa, the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences, election to the Royal Academy of the Sciences of the Netherlands, and she has been made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French government.

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