Accepted Paper:

Scenarios as modes of existence in knowledge about biological threats  


Francisco Tirado (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Marco Maureira (Autonomous University of Barcelona)
Enrique Baleriola (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona )
Mariana Gavris (Autonomous University of Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

Scenarios to think biological threats are modes of existence. They are truth-making procedure. So, they operate building states of exception; they produce images of exception and; life is considered the subject and the object of its monitoring. Ebola pandemics will be our empirical work.

Paper long abstract:

In the last decade, the notion of scenario has become especially relevant in all the sciences related with biological threats. Even more, from these, the notion has started to spread to other knowledge areas such as Physics, Psychology, Sociology and so on. In the case of the former mentioned sciences, the work with scenarios is so relevant that is replacing the old risk calculation and is determining the elaboration of both protocols and preparedness plans of intervention in biological emergencies. Scenarios are usually presented as models in order to analyse the development of several factors in a situation of biological menace. The knowledge produced in this way is established to think about the future threat and the present reaction. Our paper, first, will puts forward that scenarios are something more complex than a neutral model of studying biological menaces. Second, we will pose that scenarios can be considered a logic well described by the concept of "mode of existence" defended by Latour recently. That is to say, scenarios are a real truth-making procedure and therefore they are becoming the unique logic in order to produce truth and knowledge when we think about life threats. Finally, we will describe the main characteristics of this new mode of existence: a) it operates building states of exception; b) it produces images of exception and; c) life is considered at the same time the subject and the object of its very monitoring. We will do all these proposals analysing recent scenarios about the pandemics of Ebola.

Panel T058
Biorisk Intelligence otherwise: Scenarios, Visual Knowledge and new Mechanisms of Surveillance