Spatial governmentality and the new urban social order: Controlling gender violence through law

Sally Engle Merry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The new urban social order depends on a complex combination of systems of punishment, discipline, and security. Scholars drawing on Foucault's analysis of the art and rationality of governance, or governmentality, have explored how urban social orders are increasingly based on the governance of space rather than on the discipline of offenders or the punishment of offenses. The new urban social order is characterized by privatized security systems and consumer-policed spaces such as malls. Gender violence interventions represent another deployment of spatial forms of governmentality. Over the last two decades, punishment of batterers has been augmented by disciplinary systems that teach batterers new forms of masculinity and by security systems for women based on spatial separation. In the postmodern city, spatial governmentality is integrally connected with punishment and discipline. These new forms of governance circulate globally along with neoliberal ideas of the diminished state.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)16-29
    Number of pages14
    JournalAmerican Anthropologist
    Volume103
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 2001

    Keywords

    • Gender violence
    • Globalization
    • Governmentality
    • Urban society
    • law

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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