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Dept. of Sociology, Philosophy, and Anthropology | University of Exeter
Presentation: Leaks and Lures: The Commitments of Exposing Militarism

My long term concern lies with the social and ethical dilemmas associated with scientific and technical expertise.  In particular, I have been concerned with the negotiated management of information in areas of public controversy.  Much of my work in past years examined how the responsible stewardship of the life sciences can be ensured, so as to avoid civilian research being used to intentionally spread disease. I also have been active in examining and participating in attempts to enhance the humanitarian restrictions governing the conduct of war.

Because much of my research takes place in security and diplomatic communities, where questions of disclosure and concealment loom large, as of late I have turned to reflecting on the methodological issues associated with investigating and writing about secrecy.  This, in turn, has led to attention to silences and absences: how some issues don’t get considered, how some concerns go unsaid, what grievances never get formed, what paths in social and political are never pursued, etc.


Contests over the control of information are central to the production, promotion, and critique of militaristic ideologies.  For those seeking to expose the machinations of militarism, information is often regarded as a vital basis for critique; whereas for those working to defend them from scrutiny, information is often regarded as a resource that needs to be sequestered away from widespread view. As a result, much potential is typically invested in breaches of military and diplomatic secrecy.