The molecularisation of security: medical countermeasure development and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), 2006-2015

Long, Christopher (2017) The molecularisation of security: medical countermeasure development and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), 2006-2015. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

How do advances in our varied understandings of biological life processes shape and influence contemporary security practices? Through an in-depth analysis of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), this thesis argues that security practices in the United States have undergone a process of molecularisation over the past two decades. Specifically, the thesis shows that: 1) a new molecular vision of life has emerged that operates beyond the parameters of biopolitics outlined by Foucault; 2) that this molecular conception of life is generating new notions of insecurity in the form of heightened concern with the threat of bioterrorism; and 3) that this shift in perceptions is also inciting the development of new molecular-based security technologies in the form of medical countermeasures. BARDA is the institution at the centre of government efforts in the United States to support companies in the development of medical countermeasures that aim to mitigate a bioterrorist attack. Such support is necessary as development is beset by the 'valley of death', the financial desert between preclinical research & development and procurement. Through financial and technical means BARDA facilitates the production of medical countermeasures through this valley. This support allows companies to take advantage of our ability to visualise and manipulate life at the molecular level made possible by the molecular vision of life. As this thesis demonstrates, our ability to map and manipulate DNA and visualise the bacterial structures that process DNA is essential to the development of these molecular-based security technologies. Through this exposition the way that this vision of life is driving understandings of security and insecurity in response to the threat of bioterrorism is demonstrated. In this case, our ability to visualise and manipulate life at the molecular level has characterised security in molecular terms.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Preparedness, bioterrorism, biopolitics, molecular life, security
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD0028 Management. Industrial Management > HD0061.5 Security measures
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV6001 Criminology > HV6251 Crimes and offences > HV6431 Terrorism > HV6433.3 Bioterrorism
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology > QH0426 Genetics
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 13:15
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2021 07:43
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/70487

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