Mats Fridlund

Things for living with terror: a global history of the materialities of urban terror and security

This cultural history of urban terror and security look at how ordinary urban citizens have used technology to live with man-made terrors and threats from bombs. Technologically shaped fears’ and terrors’ importance for everyday urban life is studied through a history of urban ‘terrormindedness’ – widespread sociotechnical practices and behaviors related to man-made terror. The history is divided into airmindedness, c1900-1945, nuclearmindedness, 1945-c1990 and terrorismmindedness, c1990- today, each studied in a separate case study of a specific technology: gas mask use in WWII London, nuclear fallout shelters in Cold War New York, and car bomb barricades in Tel Aviv from the 1990s. The case studies have been chosen to explore a period’s central significant terrormindedness characteristics. Furthermore, each case is compared with a similar smaller study from a contrasting global urban context: the London case is contrasted by gas mask use in WWII Berlin, New York’s fallout shelters with Cold War Stockholm and Tel Aviv’s reaction to terrorism with Tokyo’s protective terrorist measures. This relativize, contrast and globalize the results. Primary source material are diaries, letters and interviews describing individuals’ emotions and behaviors related to fear and security to study what role technologies provide for urban civilians’ experience of terror and security. The study include longer study visits in the studied cities for archival research and interviews.
Grant administrator
University of Gothenburg
Reference number
SEK 2,829,000.00
History of Technology