Politics of Disappearance: Scanners and (Unobserved) Bodies as Mediators of Security Practices

Journal article

Bellanova, Rocco & Gloria González Fuster (2013) Politics of Disappearance: Scanners and (Unobserved) Bodies as Mediators of Security Practices, International Political Sociology 7 (2): 188–209.

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

In 2008, debates over the deployment of body scanners in EU airports gave rise to imbroglios of technologies, bodies, law, and policies. Eventually, these entanglements appeared to be undone and resolved by the concealment of bodies from the screens of the machines—which had, meanwhile, been renamed security scanners. Using the concept of setting, this article describes the processes of disappearance operating among a vivid multiplicity of actants and connections and identifies three main paradoxical features characterizing them. Based on this analysis, the article advances the notion of the politics of disappearance, where heterogeneous elements—both material and immaterial, visible as well as invisible—actively contribute to the making of a security practice and, potentially, to the opening of political landscapes.

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