The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability

Duke University Press
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Since September 11, 2001, the imagination of "low probability, high consequence" events has become a distinctive feature of contemporary politics. Uncertain futures—devastation by terrorist attack, cyber crime, flood, financial market collapse—must be discerned and responded to as possibilities, however improbable they may be. In The Politics of Possibility, Louise Amoore examines this development, tracing its genealogy through the diverse worlds of risk management consulting, computer science, commercial logistics, and data visualization. She focuses on the increasingly symbiotic relationship between commercial opportunities and state security threats, a relation that turns the trusted, iris-scanned traveler into "a person of national security interest," and the designer of risk algorithms for casino and insurance fraud into a homeland security resource. Juxtaposing new readings of Agamben, Foucault, Derrida, Massumi, and Connolly with interpretations of post–9/11 novels and artworks, Amoore analyzes the "politics of possibility" and its far-reaching implications for society, associative life, and political accountability.
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About the author

Louise Amoore is Professor of Political Geography at Durham University in Durham, England. She is the author of Globalization Contested: An International Political Economy of Work, editor of The Global Resistance Reader, and a coeditor of Risk and the War on Terror.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Nov 13, 2013
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9780822377269
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Terrorism
Social Science / Human Geography
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book critically explores forms and techniques of calculation that emerge with digital computation, and their implications. The contributors demonstrate that digital calculative devices matter beyond their specific functions as they progressively shape, transform and govern all areas of our life. In particular, it addresses such questions as:

How does the drive to make sense of, and productively use, large amounts of diverse data, inform the development of new calculative devices, logics and techniques? How do these devices, logics and techniques affect our capacity to decide and to act? How do mundane elements of our physical and virtual existence become data to be analysed and rearranged in complex ensembles of people and things? In what ways are conventional notions of public and private, individual and population, certainty and probability, rule and exception transformed and what are the consequences? How does the search for ‘hidden’ connections and patterns change our understanding of social relations and associative life? Do contemporary modes of calculation produce new thresholds of calculability and computability, allowing for the improbable or the merely possible to be embraced and acted upon? As contemporary approaches to governing uncertain futures seek to anticipate future events, how are calculation and decision engaged anew?

Drawing together different strands of cutting-edge research that is both theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, this book makes an important contribution to several areas of scholarship, including the emerging social science field of software studies, and will be a vital resource for students and scholars alike.

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