Prevent Watch

Embodying the inquiry: disaster, affectivity, and the localised politics of security

Picture by Mango Pear Creative on Unsplash.

Through an approach of embodying the inquiry, this journal article investigates the scope, recommendations, and forensic investigation of the Manchester Arena Inquiry, which prefigures the gaze of the UK’s forthcoming ‘Protect Duty’, part of its counter-terrorism strategy that also includes Prevent.

Once formalized, this Duty will make venue workers key embodiments of national counter-terrorism priorities, placing further responsibility on civil society for security.

This paper by Tom Pettinger, published through the University of Warwick, shows how contestations over affective embodiments of security have been navigated across the Inquiry, with national security articulated as being produced exclusively in local spaces, and through a body divorced from its experience via sophisticated management techniques.

Through close analysis of the Inquiry’s reports, and drawing from interviews with UK disaster management experts, the discussion reveals how the Manchester Arena Inquiry positions national security as produced through low-paid workers defending the minutiae of their jobs in the context of the local venue.

Through its forensic investigation and detail-oriented scope, the public inquiry is revealed as an important technology in the (re)production of localized forms of security knowledge, which in turn delegitimises knowledge of disaster as structural or political.

You can download the full paper here.

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