Total war is usually understood as the blurring of erstwhile political distinctions among people, armies, and government. It is more than this, however. Total war is a modus operandi involving the destruction—from the cellular to the planetary—of an enemy's environmental lifeworld. Working through uncertainty and surprise, total war presents itself as environmental terror. Through the concept of resilience, this essay examines environmental terror in the practices of civil defense and how, when harnessed to liberal critiques of modernity, this terror has been generalized in the current all-hazard turn in national security. The uncertainty that lies at the heart of environmental terror calls forth the bunker as a site of defense and the strategization of power. In light of the bunker's military origins, this essay traces the spatial propagation of the bunker in the growing polarization between public and private urban space. Reflected in the gated communities, green zones, fortified aid compounds, shopping malls, and tourist enclaves of the global city, bunkers offer sites of elite refuge, private consumption, and a secure base from which power, in an uncertain and divided world, can be strategized without negotiation.
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Mark Duffield; Total War as Environmental Terror: Linking Liberalism, Resilience, and the Bunker. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2011; 110 (3): 757–769. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-1275779
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