mercoledì 7 dicembre 2011

Safety, Security, Preparedness

Berkeley Human Practices Lab 
 Safety, Security, Preparedness: 
An Orientation to Biosecurity Today 

Stavrianakis, Fearnley, Bennett, Rabinow

We argue that today we are confronted by a distinctive biosecurity problem. This 
problem, although connected to the work and formulations of the Asilomar conference on 
recombinant DNA and the Biological Weapons Convention in February and March 1975 
respectively (Berg et al. 1975; Singer and Berg 1976), nonetheless is characterized by 
significant discontinuities. Three vectors are particularly significant. First, there have been 
technical innovations since the 1970s, including, but not limited to, synthesis technologies 
(Bugl et al. 2007). Second, there have been changes in the political milieu, including the 
emergence of non-state terrorism at a global scale (Alibek 1999; Laquer 2003; Dando 2006). 
Third, the rise of new security frameworks within government apparatuses are increasingly to 
“low-probability/high-consequence” events rather than civil defense and all-hazards planning 
(Collier and Lakoff 2008). These three vectors provide preliminary orientation for an analysis 
of the problem of biosecurity today.  
Given these vectors, as well as others, we propose that a sufficient analysis of 
biosecurity today requires not only attention to specific safety techniques and regulatory 
policies, but additionally, the rationalities according to which practices and resources are 
being mobilized today. In this paper we will devote our attention to distinguishing and 
characterizing three types of rationalities: safety, security, and preparedness. By so doing, we 
argue that we can facilitate a better analysis of what currently is taken to count as a security 
Our analysis arises in part from our position within the Berkeley Human Practices 
Laboratory. For five years (2006-2011) Rabinow and Bennett experimented with 
collaboration between science and ethics as a core research component of an NSF funded 
Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC). They call this effort “Human 
Practices” (Rabinow and Bennett 2011). The Human Practices thrust of SynBERC focused 
on the challenge of bringing biosciences and human sciences into a collaborative relationship, 
on common problems, such as biosecurity. In this Green Paper, we reflect on the extent to 
which SynBERC, as an organization, is prepared for the challenges of the security 
environment in which practices of bio-engineering exist...  

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento