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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Ben Anderson

Anderson, B. & Adey, P. Affect and Security: Exercising Emergency in Uk Civil Contingencies. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 2011;29:1092-1109.

Author(s) from Durham


In this paper we explore the relation between affect and security through a case study of one technique for making futures present and actionable: the use of exercises in UK emergency planning after the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act. Based on observation of exercises and interviews with emergency planners, we show how exercises function by making present an ‘interval’ of emergency in-between the occurrence of a threatening event and it becoming a disaster. This ‘interval’ is made present through a set of partially connected affective atmospheres and sensibilities. By making futures present at the level of affect, exercises function as techniques of equivalence that enable future disruptive events to be governed. Through this case study, we argue against epochal accounts that frame the relation between affect and security in terms of an ‘age of anxiety’ or a ‘culture of fear’. Instead we understand security affects to be both a means through which futures are made present in apparatuses of security and part of the relational dynamics through which “[a] thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble” (Foucault 1980; 194) functions strategically.