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Governing terrorism through risk: Taking precautions, (un)knowing the future

Aradau, Claudia and van Munster, Rens (2007). Governing terrorism through risk: Taking precautions, (un)knowing the future. European Journal of International Relations, 13(1) pp. 89–115.

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The events of 9/11 appeared to make good on Ulrich Beck's claim that we are now living in a (global) risk society. Examining what it means to ‘govern through risk’, this article departs from Beck's thesis of risk society and its appropriation in security studies. Arguing that the risk society thesis problematically views risk within a macro-sociological narrative of modernity, this article shows, based on a Foucauldian account of governmentality, that governing terrorism through risk involves a permanent adjustment of traditional forms of risk management in light of the double infinity of catastrophic consequences and the incalculability of the risk of terrorism. Deploying the Foucauldian notion of ‘dispositif’, this article explores precautionary risk and risk analysis as conceptual tools that can shed light on the heterogeneous practices that are defined as the ‘war on terror’.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2007 SAGE Publications and ECPR-European Consortium for Political Research
ISSN: 1460-3713
Keywords: governmentality; precaution; risk society; securitization; terrorism;
Academic Unit/Department: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 8945
Depositing User: Claudia Aradau
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2007
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 16:36
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