Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2020
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Clear, Hold and Build: Militarization, Redevelopment and State Exceptionalism in Kingston Jamaica

This is a multi-scalar project intended to explore two main things. First, I aim to investigate the macro-level connections between recent efforts by the Jamaican government to redevelop its capital's (Kingston) waterfront while simultaneously militarize adjoining inner city communities. In 2017, the Jamaican Government passed the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO) Act in order to operationalize the use of military force in residential neighborhoods. The ZOSO Act selectively target communities experiencing an upsurge in violence and provides unique measures for upholding the Rule of Law. These unique measures include, setting up check-points and military base camps in targeted neighborhoods, 24-hour curfews, indiscriminate access to and searching of private property, mass detention, and frequent foot patrols by heavily armed soldiers. Given the unprecedented and highly controversial nature of this program, whereby the military is being used as security infrastructure to govern and regulate urban life, the second micro-level component of this project will examine the effects this elaborate military occupancy have on residents in targeted communities. The macro-level components of this project will entail rich archival research and semi-structured interviews. For the micro-level aspects of the project, I intend to carry out ethnographic work over 11 months to investigate how prolonged and excessive use of force has a transient sensory effect on how urban dwellers experience and respond to 'shock and awe'. Given that the micro-level aspects of this project will be conducted in the inner-city community of Trench Town, I hope to explore the "trenches" of modern notions of hegemony. Deciphering how crisis, repressive violence, and shifting leadership hierarchies manifest as a crisis of hegemony, that has profound implications for urban life in ways that counters conventional notions of citizenship.