Biopolitics of specialised risk: An Analysis of Kidnap and Ransom Insurance

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    This article offers a biopolitical security analytic of kidnap and ransom (K&R) insurance. It suggests that security phenomena should be analysed in terms of the problematizations through which they are expressed. With reference to Foucault's concept of biopower, K&R insurance is studied as part of a security dispositif designed to deal with the problematic of kidnap risk. The biopolitical security that results is aimed at enabling the circulation of the client should a kidnap event occur. As such, it is a personalized private provision of security premised upon the promotion of an individual's capacity to circulate in the future. Using the story of a kidnap event, the article analyses the micro-practices through which a population of `kidnapping prospects' is created, the underwriting process through which prospective clients undergo a security audit, and the forms of security that derive from this dispositif. It argues that the value of the concept of biopower for security analysis is its potential for explaining problematics that are not circumscribed to a fixed referent object but relate to the emergent features of the changing character of the human being.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)315-334
    JournalSecurity dialogue
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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