Type
Article
Title
The Need for Speed: Traffic Regulation and the Violent Fabric of Karachi
In
Theory, culture & society
Editor
GB : SAGE Publications
Volume
33
Number
7-8
Pages
137 - 158 p.
ISSN
02632764
DOI
10.1177/0263276416666934
Keywords
urban violence, traffic hazards, speed, military urbanism, Karachi, circulation
Abstract
EN
As a domain of political intervention, speed is a meeting ground for projects of domination and tactics of emancipation, for logics of exclusion coexisting with various forms of collisions, intersections and amalgamations. Instead of reducing the ‘need for speed’ to a linear and unequivocal process, this article makes the case for thinking about speed as an arena of conflict, subject to brutal accelerations but also to at least momentary decelerations. Taking the example of Karachi, where road accidents and larger controversies around transport played a prominent role in the violent postcolonial transformations of the city, it argues that from these collisions emerged a form of political power premised on the regulation of traffic flows. It concludes that moving-power always exceeds the initial intentions of those setting it in motion as it simultaneously builds on and disrupts the forces that give every city its vitality, that is, on the vitalism of speed.

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