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Biosecurity: spaces, practices, and boundaries

Bingham, Nick, Enticott, Gareth Paul ORCID: and Hinchliffe, Steve 2008. Biosecurity: spaces, practices, and boundaries. Environment and Planning A 40 (7) , pp. 1528-1533. 10.1068/a4173

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Biosecurity might be crudely defined as making life safe. As this collection of papers will show, who does this work, on behalf of what or for whom, and with what kind of resources and results, vary widely. Some biosecurity practices are seemingly mundane but with broad consequences (like the use of disinfectants at farm gates to halt the movement of foot and mouth viruses). Some practices take us to a world of high- technology surveillance and cutting-edge science (like theWorld Health Organization's Centre for Strategic Health Operations, SHOC). All of the cases involve attempts to monitor, regulate, and/or halt the movements of various forms of life. Sometimes the focus is on animals or plants; often it is microbes. Sometimes the concern is triggered by disasters or `accidents' (Law, 2006); at other times the cause for concern is a form of warfare or terrorism. Anticipation and preparedness for such events become part of the affective register of biosecurity. Sometimes the life that is to be made safe is seemingly straightforward (the sheep and cattle on a farm, for example, or the human population of a city where SARS is present), but often this apparent simplicity hides a more complex question over ways of life (particular kinds of agricultural and economic practice, or gaping inequalities in life styles between the healthy and the diseased). In short, biosecurity is as complex as life itself, and its practices give relief to certain problematics while managing to shield others from view. This collection of papers, which has arisen from a special conference session and has evolved through further discussions and readings, addresses the problematic of biosecurity (see the formative statement by Collier et al, 2004)

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
ISSN: 0308-518X
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 12:36

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