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Feminist Technoscience, Biopolitics and Security
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In recent years, security actors have become increasingly concerned with health issues. This book reveals how understandings of race, sexuality and gender are produced/reproduced through healthcare policy.

Analysing the plasma of paid Mexicana/o donors in the US, airport vomit in Ebola epidemics, and the semen of soldiers with genitourinary injuries, this book shows how security practices focus upon governing bodily fluids.

Using a variety of critical scholarship – feminist technoscience, queer studies and critical race studies – this book uses fluids to reveal unequal distributions of life and death.

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The final chapter of the book returns to feminist technoscience studies (FTS), to consider the unique contributions FTS has for thinking about biopolitics. The chapter outlines two key contributions from FTS to the study of biopolitics. Firstly, the chapter argues that biopolitical governance is at work in everyday and mundane spaces. Secondly, FTS shows us that the ‘bios’ of biopolitics should not be considered universal human matter; instead, it is always already racialized/sexed/gendered. The chapter finishes by considering the significance of bodily fluids for studying future emergent health issues, and offers a sketch of how bodily fluids may be able to help illuminate the politics of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

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Chapter 6 discusses the book’s methodology of ‘following the fluid’. The chapter narrates a chronological story of the book’s research methodology, beginning with a story of failure and difficulty in the project’s early stages. The chapter explores how a queerfeminist gut sense was vital in building a ‘fluid method/ology’; a method/ology that is focused on experimentation, change, and acknowledges contradictions and messiness. Finally, the chapter outlines the practice of ‘following the fluid’ that informs this book. The chapter shows how following a fluid requires us to understand fluids as agential actors within international politics, which can help us map the points of connection and rupture between security assemblages.

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This chapter sets the scene for the book and introduces the book’s main research question; how are bodily fluids made to matter within the governance of international politics? The introduction then situates itself in relation to security studies, arguing in favour prioritizing terminology for queer and feminist literatures over binaries of secure/insecure. The chapter then outlines and defines the guiding research principle of a queerfeminist curiosity; the conjoining of a feminist curiosity with queer logics of both/and. The chapter then outlines how the book proceeds, and gives a brief description of the book’s methodology, which is discussed at greater length in Chapter 6.

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This chapter follows plasma through practices of paid plasma donation at the US–Mexico border. The chapter analyses how racializing/racialized modes of life–death are produced through donation assemblages. The chapter situates plasma donation with the borderlands, showing that the global plasma economy relies heavily upon Mexicana/o donors who cross the border to donate in return for financial compensation. The chapter argues that there are two simultaneous representations of Mexicana/o donors; firstly, as sources of ‘life’ for others; secondly, as sources of threat through the rhetoric of infectious disease. The chapter shows that both these representations rely upon racialized hierarchies of life, death and value. Finally, it is argued that plasma donation challenges binaries of life and death by drawing our attention to the distribution of racialized modes of living.

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This chapter follows vomit through airport exit-screening assemblages during the 2013–16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The chapter explores how and why vomit was constructed as a security threat, arguing that a distribution of life–death was achieved through a greater surveillance of West Africa bodies. Ultimately the chapter argues that airport screening assemblages worked to perpetuate discourses that reinstantiate race as a meaningful form of bodily differentiation. The chapter begins by giving some empirical context, before arguing that screening technologies are based upon colonial and gendered gazes that attempt to render West African bodies as ‘governable’. The chapter then shows how screening assemblages worked to quarantine and naturalize Ebola virus disease within west Africa, looking at cultural depictions of Ebola ‘vomit’ to think this through.

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This chapter follows semen through treatment assemblages for US service members with genitourinary injuries (GUIs). The chapter argues that current treatments attempt to regulate flows of semen, and thus the bodies of service members, according to normative frames of sex, gender and race. The chapter starts by outlining the scope and prevalence of GUIs in the US military, and shows how GUIs are often understood as damaging to masculinity. The chapter then explores how GUIs are ‘fixed’ through the regulation of semen, looking at both medical and surgical treatments for GUIs. The chapter shows how these treatments normalize cisgender, heterosexual masculine bodies as possessing ‘seminal capacity’. The chapter then looks at GUIs among Iraqi and Afghan populations during US-led wars, arguing that sexualized/sexed distributions of life–death at ‘home’ are bound up in racialized/sexualized distributions of life–death ‘abroad’.

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This chapter lays out the book’s theoretical framework, and explains how the book engages the idea of ‘bodies’ and ‘bodily fluids’. The first section of the chapter introduces the concept of assemblage, and offers a reading of ‘the body’ as an assemblage. It outlines feminist critiques of assemblage theory, and proposes turning to feminist technoscience studies (FTS) to think through the body-assemblage. FTS, the chapter shows, offers resources for us to act upon our queerfeminist curiosity. The chapter argues that FTS offers two important insights on assemblage. Firstly, that body-assemblages should be understood as particular and, secondly, that the boundaries of the body-assemblage are uncertain. The chapter then turns to a theorization of bodily fluids, arguing bodily fluids should be understand through queer logics as both/and substances. It then introduces the term life–death to conceptualize the forms of relationships that bodily fluids can set in motion between bodies.

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While education is expected to play a significant role in responding to global social challenges, sustainable development discourses often fail to attend to issues of pedagogy, purpose and process. In this paper, we argue that one way to focus arguments on educational practice is through considerations of the relationship between education as justice and education for justice. We do this through discussing one form of justice in education – epistemic justice – and developing our conceptualisation of an epistemic core. Drawing on Elmore’s instructional core, this includes openness to students’ experiences and the place where they live, rich pedagogies and a broad range of epistemic resources. We argue that this is one way that secondary education’s contribution to sustainable and just futures could be made more concretely possible.

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Understanding how today’s children will act in the future is essential to education supporting sustainable development. This study investigated how students in three contexts in Nepal, Peru and Uganda understand environmental, epistemic and transitional justice. It used a tablet-based app to present students with scenarios that illustrates different attitudes, experiences and intended actions with respect to these three forms of justice and analysed responses to focus on factors related to intended actions. The analysis suggests that both attitudes and experiences are important in shaping intended actions in the future. Thus, education systems should not only develop attitudes to support sustainable development, but also exemplify and embody socially justice practices, providing students with experience of social contexts that support sustainable development.

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