Urban atmospheres of (in)security, disaster, and recovery: paper session at Association of American Geographers 2023 Annual Meeting

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At the 2023 annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Denver, Colorado, the Atmospheres of (counter)terrorism in European cities team hosted the paper session Urban atmospheres of (in)security, disaster, and recovery to bring together research concerned with the issue of the ordinary felt experiences of (in)security in cities and of how urban atmospheres shape and aid the emotional coping and recovery of urban residents within contexts of (in)security. The session included a selection of papers showcasing research from Atmospheres of (counter)terrorism in European cities. Paul Simpson began the session with his paper Atmospheres of (counter)terrorism: productions, differences, governance, which presented the project’s cross-disciplinary research agenda for studying everyday urban experiences of security and insecurity to ask how we might reconcile calls in security studies for long-term and spatially diffuse accounts of the felt effects of (counter)terrorism and atmospheric accounts of geopolitics that are limited to bounded environments or spatial categories of (in)security. Following this, in their paper Assessing the (counter)terrorism impact on the urban atmospheres, practices, and emotions in European countries, Damien Masson and Hélène Heurtel delivered preliminary results from the three-country survey that we ran in 2022 to better understand public attitudes towards terrorism and security in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Sam Berlin’s paper Project Servator: atmospheric methods in counterterrorism presented findings from interviews and shadowing carried out with British counterterrorism police to explore recent shifts towards atmospheric methods in counterterrorism policing. In Assessing the (counter)terrorism impact on the urban atmospheres, practices, and emotions in European countries, Angeliki Drongiti presented findings from her field research in the Greater Paris region which took an approach based in urban ambiances and sensory ethnographies to detail how more-than-human counterterrorist politics not only modify ordinary urban atmospheres, but also act as an ambient power that subtly contributes to redefine ordinary urban life. Finally, Sara Fregonese’s paper The 1974 Birmingham bombings: atmospheric envelopments, circulations, and (in)capacities built on McCormack’s (2014: 607) work on “atmospheric things” to consider the violent disruptions and afterlives of the terrorist bombings against The Tavern in the Town and Mulberry Bush pubs in Birmingham (UK) in 1974.