THE SEMIOTICS OF SECURITY: Infectious Disease Research and the Biopolitics of Informational Bodies in the United States



In this article, I investigate the biopolitical economy of security as it is operating today in the United States in the context of infectious disease research. Drawing on my work with influenza researchers, I specifically show how experts have been concerned not only with the circulation of biological matter but also with the exchange of scientific information. I argue that it is a specific logic—the logic of iterability—that is at the heart of the growing concern with “sensitive information” published in scientific journals. How has the concern with sensitive information affected infectious disease research in the United States in the past few years? How has the logic of iterability reconfigured microbiological notions of the normal and the pathological? And what might an anthropological analysis of the biopolitical economy of security be able to tell us about the ways in which “life” is made a new political concern today?