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Journal Cover   Theory, Culture & Society
  [SJR: 1.954]   [H-I: 52]   [231 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0263-2764 - ISSN (Online) 1460-3616
   Published by Sage Publications Homepage  [813 journals]
  • Introduction: Governing Emergencies: Beyond Exceptionality
    • Authors: Adey, P; Anderson, B, Graham, S.
      Pages: 3 - 17
      Abstract: What characterizes emergency today is the proliferation of the term. Any event or situation supposedly has the potential to become an emergency. Emergencies may happen anywhere and at any time. They are not contained within one functional sector or one domain of life. The substantive focus of the articles collected in this special issue reflects this proliferation: they explore ways of governing in, by and through emergencies across different types of emergencies and different domains of life. In response to this proliferation, the issue opens up critical work on the politics of emergency beyond the ‘state of exception’ as dominant paradigm. Emergency is treated as a problem for government that calls for the invention of new techniques or the redeployment of existing techniques. Through this shift in emphasis, the articles in this issue disclose relations between modalities of power and emergency life that differ from the ‘lightening flash’ of a sovereign decision on the exception taken from outside of life, or the capacity to ‘mould’ an always-already emergent life from within life.
      PubDate: 2015-03-15T21:07:08-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414565719
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 2 (2015)
  • Vital Systems Security: Reflexive Biopolitics and the Government of
    • Authors: Collier, S. J; Lakoff, A.
      Pages: 19 - 51
      Abstract: This article describes the historical emergence of vital systems security, analyzing it as a significant mutation in biopolitical modernity. The story begins in the early 20th century, when planners and policy-makers recognized the increasing dependence of collective life on interlinked systems such as transportation, electricity, and water. Over the following decades, new security mechanisms were invented to mitigate the vulnerability of these vital systems. While these techniques were initially developed as part of Cold War preparedness for nuclear war, they eventually migrated to domains beyond national security to address a range of anticipated emergencies, such as large-scale natural disasters, pandemic disease outbreaks, and disruptions of critical infrastructure. In these various contexts, vital systems security operates as a form of reflexive biopolitics, managing risks that have arisen as the result of modernization processes. This analysis sheds new light on current discussions of the government of emergency and ‘states of exception’. Vital systems security does not require recourse to extraordinary executive powers. Rather, as an anticipatory technology for mitigating vulnerabilities and closing gaps in preparedness, it provides a ready-to-hand toolkit for administering emergencies as a normal part of constitutional government.
      PubDate: 2015-03-15T21:07:08-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276413510050
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 2 (2015)
  • The Theology of Emergency: Welfare Reform, US Foreign Aid and the
           Faith-Based Initiative
    • Authors: Cooper M.
      Pages: 53 - 77
      Abstract: This article addresses the rise of faith-based emergency relief by examining the US President’s Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS (PEPFAR), a public health intervention focused on the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. It argues that the theological turn in humanitarian aid serves to amplify ongoing dynamics in the domestic politics of sub-Saharan African states, where social services have assumed the form of chronic emergency relief and religious organizations have come to play an increasingly prominent role in the provision of such services. In the context of an ongoing public health crisis, PEPFAR has institutionalized the social authority of the Pentecostal and charismatic churches, leading to a semantic confluence between the postcolonial politics of emergency and the Pentecostal/Pauline theology of kairos or event. Far from being confined to the space of foreign aid, however, the faith-based turn in humanitarianism is in keeping with ongoing reforms in domestic social policy in the United States. While on the one hand the sustained welfare programmes of the New Deal and Great Society have been dismantled in favour of a system of emergency relief, on the other hand the federal government has intensified its moral, pedagogical and punitive interventions into the lives of the poor. The wilful transfer of welfare services to overtly religious service providers has played a decisive role in this process. The article concludes with a critical appraisal of the links between African and North American Pentecostal-evangelical churches and questions the revolutionary mission ascribed to Pauline political theology in recent political theory.
      PubDate: 2015-03-15T21:07:08-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276413508448
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 2 (2015)
  • Cybersecurity, Bureaucratic Vitalism and European Emergency
    • Authors: Simon, S; de Goede, M.
      Pages: 79 - 106
      Abstract: Securing the internet has arguably become paradigmatic for modern security practice, not only because modern life is considered to be impossible or valueless if disconnected, but also because emergent cyber-relations and their complex interconnections are refashioning traditional security logics. This paper analyses European modes of governing geared toward securing vital, emergent cyber-systems in the face of the interconnected emergency. It develops the concept of ‘bureaucratic vitalism’ to get at the tension between the hierarchical organization and reductive knowledge frames of security apparatuses on the one hand, and the increasing desire for building ‘resilient’, dispersed, and flexible security assemblages on the other. The bureaucratic/vital juxtaposition seeks to capture the way in which cybersecurity governance takes emergent, complex systems as object and model without fully replicating this ideal in practice. Thus, we are concerned with the question of what happens when security apparatuses appropriate and translate vitalist concepts into practice. Our case renders visible the banal bureaucratic manoeuvres that seek to operate upon security emergencies by fostering connectivities, producing agencies, and staging exercises.
      PubDate: 2015-03-15T21:07:08-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414560415
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 2 (2015)
  • Future Emergencies: Temporal Politics in Law and Economy
    • Authors: Opitz, S; Tellmann, U.
      Pages: 107 - 129
      Abstract: This article develops a notion of the ‘politics of time’ in order to analyse the effects that imaginations of future emergencies have in the fields of law and economy. Building on Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social time, it focuses on the multiplex temporalities in contemporary society, which are shown to interact differently with the ‘emergency imaginary’. We demonstrate that the apprehension of the future in terms of sudden, unpredictable and potentially catastrophic events reinforces current modes of producing financial futurity, while it undermines the procedural rhythm and retroactive sentencing of liberal law. As a whole, the article supplements the analysis of the ‘politics of truth’ prevalent in the current debate about precaution and pre-emption with a theoretical perspective on social temporality.
      PubDate: 2015-03-15T21:07:09-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414560416
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 2 (2015)
  • Governing Inflation: Price and Atmospheres of Emergency
    • Authors: McCormack D.
      Pages: 131 - 154
      Abstract: Relative price stability is central to the security of valued forms of life in contemporary liberal democracies, and disruptions to price stability can be and have been understood and experienced as emergencies. However, while the relation between price and emergency can be understood in juridico–political terms, this article argues for the importance of attending to the affective dimensions of this relation. This argument is developed through a discussion of the affective life of price in relation to the disruptive event of inflation, an event characterized by an atmosphere of emergency that takes place as a disturbance of the rhythms and relations of which everyday life consists. Haunted by the spectre of this emergency, governing price in liberal democracies needs to be understood not only through regulatory measures designed to act directly upon price, but also in terms of efforts to act upon the affective spacetimes from which price-emergencies can emerge.
      PubDate: 2015-03-15T21:07:09-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414565716
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 2 (2015)
  • 'Crowded Places Are Everywhere We Go': Crowds, Emergency, Politics
    • Authors: Aradau C.
      Pages: 155 - 175
      Abstract: ‘Crowded places’ have recently been problematized as objects of terrorist attacks. Following this redefinition of terrorism, crowds have been reactivated at the heart of a security continuum of counter-terrorism, emergency planning and policing. How does the crowd referent recalibrate security governance, and with what political effects? This article argues that several subtle reconfigurations take place. First, counter-terrorism governance derives the knowledge of crowds from ‘generic events’ as unexpected, unpredictable and potentially catastrophic. This move activates 19th-century knowledge about crowds as pathological, while the spatial referent of ‘crowded places’ reconfigures workplaces as crowded places and workers as crowds. Second, new guidance for emergency planning and policing deploys a more rational approach to crowds, put forward in recent psychosocial approaches. These modes of knowledge derive ‘generic crowds’ from normal social relations rather than extraordinary events. Generic events and generic crowds effectively depoliticize crowds, as they exclude a more radical generic politics, in which crowds are not derivable, but negate determination.
      PubDate: 2015-03-15T21:07:09-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276414562429
      Issue No: Vol. 32, No. 2 (2015)
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