1. The concept of “endangerment” has been most fully engaged in anthropology
by Tim Choy in the context of environmental politics in Hong Kong. See Choy,
Ecologies of Comparison. I use the concept in a rather diff er ent way to frame a ter-
rain of po litical engagement between the state and urban citizens that is or ga nized
around threat and danger. Recent work by Joseph Masco on national security affect
in the United States has also been a source of inspiration. See Masco, The Theater of
2. Calvino, Invisible Cities, 28–29.
Introduction. The Politics of Security and Risk
1. Earthquakes may seem an exception, since until recently they were un-
derstood as geological events outside the realm of human agency. Yet as Dipesh
Chakrabarty argues, the “scientific consensus around the proposition that the
pres ent crisis of climate change is man- made” has collapsed the distinction between
natu ral and human history: “Now it is being claimed that humans are a force of
nature in the geological sense.” See “The Climate of History,” 201, 207. Slavoj Žižek
points out that even earthquakes can now be understood as “included in the scope
of phenomena influenced by human activity.” See Living in the End Times, 331 n. 13.
Recent controversies surrounding hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” have centered
on this very possibility.
2. Jones and Rod gers, “Gangs, Guns, and the City.” What Jones and Rod gers call
“security governance” is one way to name the prob lem analyzed here.
3. Beck, Risk Society and World at Risk. For a sympathetic critique of Beck’s
work, see Collier, “Enacting Catastrophe.”
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