Hybrid Threats and Preparedness Strategies: The Reconceptualization of Biological Threats and Boundaries in Global Health Emergencies

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Pandemic emergencies are one of the foremost examples of the turn to preparedness. In this article, I discuss how biological threats are conceptualized inside the frame provided by such turn, connecting with novel governance practices aimed at tackling the challenges posed by the constantly shifting boundaries of global health. First, I review existing literature related to the turn to preparedness. This turn has turned virtual biological threats into the main drivers for preparedness planning. Second, I use empirical material to argue a redefinition of biological threats as entities that go beyond the molecular boundaries of viruses, turning hybrid social networks into the main object of interest for global health response before infectious diseases. This reconceptualization is manifested in three different challenges to the boundaries of global health emergencies: (1) a temporal challenge, which forces institutions to struggle with situating the boundary between event and non-event; (2) an institutional challenge, which brings together different actors, institutions, and organizations redefining their internal and external boundaries; and (3) a spatial challenge, whereby the territorial lines of secure and insecure spaces become mobile and unstable. As a conclusion, I will argue that those three challenges and the redefinition of certain boundaries are ways to govern a wider divide constructed by preparedness that aims at separating the threat and an object of protection.
Originalspråkengelska
TidskriftSociological Research Online
Volym24
Utgåva1
Sidor (från-till)93-110
Antal sidor18
ISSN1360-7804
DOI
StatusPublicerad - 1 mar 2019
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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