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Title: The molecularisation of security : medical countermeasure development and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), 2006-2015
Author: Long, Christopher
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2017
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How do advances in our varied understandings of biological life processes shape and influence contemporary security practices? Through an in-depth analysis of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), this thesis argues that security practices in the United States have undergone a process of molecularisation over the past two decades. Specifically, the thesis shows that: 1) a new molecular vision of life has emerged that operates beyond the parameters of biopolitics outlined by Foucault; 2) that this molecular conception of life is generating new notions of insecurity in the form of heightened concern with the threat of bioterrorism; and 3) that this shift in perceptions is also inciting the development of new molecular-based security technologies in the form of medical countermeasures. BARDA is the institution at the centre of government efforts in the United States to support companies in the development of medical countermeasures that aim to mitigate a bioterrorist attack. Such support is necessary as development is beset by the 'valley of death', the financial desert between preclinical research & development and procurement. Through financial and technical means BARDA facilitates the production of medical countermeasures through this valley. This support allows companies to take advantage of our ability to visualise and manipulate life at the molecular level made possible by the molecular vision of life. As this thesis demonstrates, our ability to map and manipulate DNA and visualise the bacterial structures that process DNA is essential to the development of these molecular-based security technologies. Through this exposition the way that this vision of life is driving understandings of security and insecurity in response to the threat of bioterrorism is demonstrated. In this case, our ability to visualise and manipulate life at the molecular level has characterised security in molecular terms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD0061.5 Security measures ; HV6433.3 Bioterrorism ; QH0426 Genetics