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Mundane GovernanceOntology and Accountability$
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Steve Woolgar and Daniel Neyland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199584741

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584741.001.0001

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Mundane terror

Mundane terror

(p.194) 8 Mundane terror
Mundane Governance

Steve Woolgar

Daniel Neyland

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 engages with things that have—via particular passages through, and questions posed of, accountability relations—become ontologically insecure. It focuses on water bottles and letter bombs as focal points for elaborating such insecurity. Water bottles are the latest candidate object of insecurity in airport governance and accountability relations that seek to constitute objects and their people as security ready. Letter bombs are a means through which businesses can take on responsibility for the management of terror. And yet objects and their passengers continually prove themselves to be security unready and the ‘letter’ ‘bombs’ and MI5’s instructions for handling such prove impossible to operationalize. Indeed it can be argued that actions to govern the insecure into being secure, constitute a broader, deeper, and more pervasive ontological insecurity than the insecure objects initially permit.

Keywords:   Ontological insecurity, letter bombs, ID cards, biometrics, passengers, airports

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