Challenging contingency: viruses and the nature of molecular life

Long, Christopher (2019) Challenging contingency: viruses and the nature of molecular life. Security Dialogue. ISSN 0967-0106

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Abstract

Understandings of the nature or inherent workings of molecular life in the field of biopolitical security studies have today been characterized predominantly in terms of contingency. This article challenges this characterization. It does so by identifying a particular logic of operation that organizes political action and intervention at both the level of the population and the molecular in response to the threats of smallpox, Ebola and pandemic influenza. It argues that, in fact, rather than securing by instantiating a general economy of the contingent (Dillon and Lobo-Guerrero, 2008: 284), governing practices rely upon the characterization of the nature of molecular life in terms of its constant biological dynamics. Governments around the world, and the US government in particular, have reacted to the increased likelihood of the emergence of disease through the stockpiling of new pharmaceuticals, including the antivirals ST-246, ZMapp and Tamiflu. Antivirals represent a pharmaceutical tool stockpiled by governments to ensure that they can respond to the emergence of novel biological threats. The characterization of the nature of molecular life in terms of its constant biological dynamics is so important, then, as it is this that underpins political programmes of preparedness that utilize antivirals in the prevention of disease.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2019 18:04
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2019 14:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/87482

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