National Knowledge and Research Center for Emergency Readiness - Diprose, Stephenson, Mills, Race, & Hawkins (2008). Governing the future: The paradigm of prudence in political technologies of risk management

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Diprose, Stephenson, Mills, Race, & Hawkins (2008). Governing the future: The paradigm of prudence in political technologies of risk management

Bibliographic details:

Diprose, R., Stephenson, N., Mills, C., Race, K., & Hawkins, G. (2008). Governing the future: The paradigm of prudence in political technologies of risk management. Security Dialogue, 39(2-3), 267-288

Abstract:

Increasingly, governmental responses to incalculable, but high-consequence, threats to life and security are framed by what has been described as the `precautionary principle' (Ewald), `preparedness' (Collier, Lakoff & Rabinow) or `pre-emption' (Derrida). This article redescribes features common to these characterizations as the paradigm of prudence and examines how this approach to risk management is playing out in the context of fears that feature within the Australian political imaginary. We explore how the approach to the future entailed in the paradigm enframes `life' and stifles democratic participation and innovation in ways of living. Three case studies (in biosecurity, bioecology and biomedicine) demonstrate not only how the paradigm pervades the government of everyday life, but also how it is challenged by human `agents', material `life' and the dynamic relations between these two. By formulating what this involves, we point to a concept of the political more conducive to democratic pluralism, diversity of life and innovative culture.

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