Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Rethinking the 'bio' of biopolitical security through humanitarian experimentation : the making of bodily boundaries and technical authority
Author: Jacobsen , Katja Lindskov
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis advances Michel Foucault's argument that biopolitical security is constitutive of the forms of life that it defmes as worthy of protection and the forms of life that it defines as threatening. By exploring this constitutive process from the perspective of Science and Technology Studies (STS) I advance Foucault's argument to think beyond the 'bio' of biopower thought of as synonymous with the biological by showing how, for example, 'the digital' is being constituted as a new type of political body open to penetration by the sovereign imagination. To make this argument I examine three instances of humanitarian experimentation (where recipients of humanitarian assistance become test subjects) and approach these practices as biopolitical interventions constitutive of bodily boundaries and epistemological authority. Specifically, I examine experiments with vaccine candidates, unapproved genetically modified organisms, and unproven iris recognition technology. My analysis of these cases illustrates the relevance of STS for International Relations (IR) and security studies by demonstrating how bodily boundaries and techno-scientific authority are co-constituted in the context of humanitarian experimentation. Crucially, importing STS- insights into IR enables me to trace an expansion in the aspects of human existence constituted as open to biopower's penetration and authoritative division and to demonstrate how this expansion finds no limitation at the border of the biological body. The thesis contributes to the deepening understanding created by critical literature on humanitarianism by illustrating how biopolitics and STS illuminate important aspects of contemporary security practices - notably the production of the very 'bio' of biopolitical security and the authority called upon to divide, rank, and act upon the thus constituted body. The thesis not only challenges biopower's demarcation of safe/unsafe bodies and the 'evidence' in which this demarcation is anchored, it also has implications for how we think about humanitarianism and the kind of body that it claims to deliver protection to.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available