Conceptualizing Biorisk: Dread Risk and the Threat of Bioterrorism in Europe

Journal article

Kittelsen, Sonja (2009) Conceptualizing Biorisk: Dread Risk and the Threat of Bioterrorism in Europe, Security Dialogue 40 (1): 51–71.

Download Final publication

This is the Version of Record of the publication, available here in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. This publication may be subject to copyright: please visit the publisher’s website for details. All rights reserved.

Read the article here

The significance of the threat of bioterrorism lies in the fear that it generates, threat' in this context constituting not just a physical manifestation of impending danger but also a reflection of a subjective vulnerability derived from a fear of an eventuality that cannot be predicted, identified or controlled. It is a threat that plays upon our perceived biological vulnerabilities in a contemporary environment where biotechnological innovation has reconfigured European relations to biological threat and where security is increasingly informed by risk. Confronting the threat of bioterrorism in Europe, then, necessarily requires engaging with the fear associated with it. This article argues that it is by conceptualizing bioterrorism through the notion of dread risk' that this can best be accomplished. In so doing, it elucidates the manners in which perceptions of threat interact with articulations of security to inform a cyclical threat—defence dynamic, enabling a more explicit engagement with the ways in which Europe is not only subject to biological insecurity but also a facilitator of it.

An error has occurred. This application may no longer respond until reloaded. An unhandled exception has occurred. See browser dev tools for details. Reload 🗙