Virus Alert: Security, Governmentality, and the AIDS Pandemic

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Overview

Bound up with the human cost of HIV/AIDS is the critical issue of its impact on national and international security, yet attempts to assess the pandemic's complex risk fail to recognize the political dangers of construing the disease as a security threat. The securitization of HIV/AIDS not only affects the discussion of the disease in international policy debates, but also transforms the very nature and function of security within global politics.

In his analysis of the security implications of HIV/AIDS, Stefan Elbe addresses three concerns: the empirical evidence that justifies framing HIV/AIDS as a security issue, the meaning of the term "security" when used in relation to the disease, and the political consequences of responding to the AIDS pandemic in the language of security. His book exposes the dangers that accompany efforts to manage the global spread of HIV/AIDS through the policy frameworks of national security, human security, and risk management. Beyond developing strategies for mitigating these dangers, Elbe's research reveals that, in construing the AIDS pandemic as a threat, policymakers and international institutions also implicitly seek to integrate current security practices within a particular rationalization of political rule. Elbe identifies this transformation as the "governmentalization" of security and, by drawing on the recently translated work of Michel Foucault, develops a framework for analyzing its key elements and consequences.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Millennium - Jonas Hagmann

An elegant, intellectually stimulating contribution that provides a timely, empirically grounded, and indeed most welcome critical analysis of recent associations of HIV with security.

Choice

A provocative and controversial book on the subject of HIV/AIDS and national security... Highly Recommended.

Survival

an important case study.

The Midwest Book Review

Virus Alert offers a fine security analysis of the implications of HIV and AIDS.

Choice

A provocative and controversial book on the subject of HIV/AIDS and national security... Highly Recommended.

Millennium
An elegant, intellectually stimulating contribution that provides a timely, empirically grounded, and indeed most welcome critical analysis of recent associations of HIV with security.

— Jonas Hagmann

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231148689
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 7/21/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Stefan Elbe is reader (associate professor) in the Department of International Relations at the University of Sussex, where he teaches security studies. Previously, he held positions at the London School of Economics, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the University of Essex, and the University of Warwick.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. Viruses, Health, and International Security2. A Noble Lie? Examining the Evidence on AIDS and Security3. Security in the Era of Governmentality: AIDS and the Rise of Health Security4. National Security: Sovereignty, Medicine, and the Securitization of Aids5. Human Security: Discipline, Healthy Bodies, and the Global Curing Machine6. Risk and Security: Government, Military Risk Groups, and Population Triage7. The Power of AIDS: Responding to the Governmentalization of SecurityReferencesIndex

Columbia University Press

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