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Worst-Case Scenario – Governance, Mediation and the Security Regime


In this original and provocative new book, Stuart Price identifies the existence of a practice that lies at the core of the western security regime – the worst-case scenario. This consists of the projection of a significant material threat, made by an authoritative or executive power, used to bolster the security agenda of the neo-liberal state. This in turn has altered the conduct of military and police operations, which are increasingly directed against any substantial expression of dissent.

Using a wide range of official sources and case studies, from 9/11 to the Stockwell shooting, Price analyses the paramilitary, political, economic and cultural manoeuvres of the security regime as it attempts to reproduce a 'command structure' within civil society. In doing so, he demonstrates that, unlike the openly totalitarian states of the past, bureaucratic rule is favoured over charismatic leadership, and the ostentatious display of coercive authority is characterised as a temporary measure. It is, he argues, a process that must be recognised and resisted.

The Author

Stuart Price is reader in media discourse and principal lecturer in media, film and journalism at De Montfort University, UK. He is the author of 'Brute Reality' (2010), 'Discourse Power Address' (2007), and a number of other books on media and communication theory. His research encompasses studies of politics, rhetoric, cultural formations in antiquity, film and adaptation, and configurations of state power. He produced one of the few academic analyses of the Stockwell shooting, for Boehmer and Morton's 'Terror and the Postcolonial' (2010), and is particularly interested in the development of the Western 'security regime'.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Preparing for the worst?
1. Myths of security
2. Governance, technology and the state
3. The Security Regime: state, governance and contingency
4. The Scenario: Imagining events
5. The Security Event: Exercise, emergency and 'real world' crises
6. The Mediated Event
7. 'Real world' security: Neglect, incompetence, and the overproduction of force
8. Pre-emption and perception management
Conclusion: Threat and social discipline

Praise for this Book

'Stuart Price's bracing new book alerts us to the way that the contemporary security state pervades daily life. This is both a very alarming and a very scholarly work. True believers in the beneficence of capitalist democracies read on–and rethink.' -Toby Miller, author of 'Makeover Nation: The United States of Reinvention'

'Insightful and engaging, Stuart Price's book provides a critical analysis of the myths and mechanisms associated with the "security regime" set up to counter terrorism' – Daya Thussu, professor of international communication, University of Westminster, London

'Stuart Price again brings his clever and critical eye to a consideration of so-called "emergency planning" routines, providing a vital corrective to the assumption that these practices represent a straightforward response to potential threats. Using a wide range of case-studies, he shows how the "intelligence community" attempt to create discrete loci of power which avoid democratic oversight. This book will be important reading for those of us interested in the ways in which the relationship between state and society continue to evolve, not always in progressive directions.' – Karen Ross, professor of media and public communication, University of Liverpool

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