Social-Spatial Transformations in Contemporary Baghdad

By Omar Sirri, for the London School of Economics (LSE) Middle East Centre.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Destructive creations: social-spatial transformations in contemporary Baghdad

This working paper examines social-spatial transformations in contemporary Baghdad by zooming in on two of the city's most frequented consumer districts, Karada and Mansour.

By way of ethnographic fieldwork, I foreground the entanglements between violence, property and consumption.

Baghdad's transformations over nearly two decades are not simply a product of urban violence; nor are they only a result of the privatisation of formerly public property; nor are they merely a consequence of changes in everyday consumer patterns.

Rather, the city's transformations stem from the co-constitution of all three forces. In Baghdad, violence, property and consumption are inextricably linked. Their enmeshment has in turned spawned social-spatial transformations benefitting the political-economic interests of an elite few at the expense of the urban commons.

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