The 2015 Paris terrorist attacks: A threat to urban life and territorial integrity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


Terrorism targets cities, creating experiences of violence that shape new spatial imaginaries. These imaginaries are performative and productive of new spatial orders. Following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, several French state officials made public declarations to address the terrorist violence and its ramifications on the city. These declarations were rich with spatial references that aimed at explaining the range of the terrorist violence and the threats terrorism imposes on the nature of the Parisian urban life. Through language, and the utilization of rhetoric, the declarations of the French state circulated specific spatial conceptualizations of the terrorist threat, which were situated along other spatial representations of Paris as a referent object – an urban space of open and multicultural qualities, which is now threatened by this form of violence. This chapter investigates how the utilization of distinct metaphors in relation to the magnitude of the attacks as well as the nature of urban life in Paris has activated particular geographical imaginaries in a way that advanced specific forms of spatial organization and practices, at the neighborhood, city and national scales. In doing this, the chapter advances the discussion on the relevance of spatial analytical categories for understanding the spatiality of terrorist violence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Architecture, Urban Space and Politics
Subtitle of host publicationViolence, Spectacle and Data
EditorsNikolina Bobic, Farzaneh Haghighi
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge - Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781003112464
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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