Virus Alert: Security, Governmentality, and the AIDS Pandemicby Stefan Elbe
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,
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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.
A provocative and controversial book on the subject of HIV/AIDS and national security... Highly Recommended.
- Columbia University Press
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What People are saying about this
In Virus Alert, Stefan Elbe sheds brilliant light on the complex government of biopolitical life in the twenty-first century through the securitization of disease and the regulation of bodies. His case study of governmentality and HIV/AIDS is sure to become a canonical volume for students and scholars, not only of Michel Foucault and discourse theory but also of international relations and world politics.
Ronnie D. Lipschutz, professor of politics, University of California, Santa Cruz
Stefan Elbe has written a careful and measured study of the relationship between security, governance, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It will be an important text for students of the epidemic and, more broadly, for those interested in theoretical developments in international relations and global governance.
Dennis Altman, professor of politics and director, Institute for Human Security, La Trobe University
Theoretically sophisticated, cogent, and teeming with profound insight, Virus Alert is an outstanding contribution to the field of security and HIV/AIDS studies.
Alex de Waal, fellow, Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University
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.
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