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Chasing PhantomsReality, Imagination, and Homeland Security Since 9/11$
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Michael Barkun

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834701

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877692_barkun

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Unseen Dangers As Defilements

Unseen Dangers As Defilements

(p.82) Six Unseen Dangers As Defilements
Chasing Phantoms

Michael Barkun

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes how unseen dangers cannot be discussed without confronting ideas about pollution and defilement. In the first place, biological weapons, which occupy so large a place in current thinking about terrorism, make a direct connection between unseen dangers and pathogens, which have so significantly affected Western ideas about harm caused by invisible agents. Second, much of the thrust of homeland security policy has been on enhancing the security of borders and preventing anything harmful from crossing them. Two of the five goals Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff set were “keeping bad people out of the country and keeping bad stuff out of the country.” Much of his department's work has been directed at trying to make the discriminations that would allow these goals to be realized.

Keywords:   unseen dangers, pollution, defilement, biological weapons, terrorism

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