The re-forming state: Actions and repercussions in preparing for future biological events

Limor Samimian-Darash*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The article analyzes the heterogeneous forms of action within the state's preparedness assemblage for biological threats in Israel. By examining preparedness practices in two biological preparedness events - the smallpox vaccination project (a possible event) and the ongoing preparations for pandemic influenza (a virtual event) - the analysis maintains that there are a number of simultaneous state practices that emerge in response to various events. This multiplicity points to the complexity of the state not only institutionally (as a form) but also in terms of its (forms of) action. A focus on complexity contrasts with dominant anthropological approaches, which conceive of the state as a monolithic imaginary tending toward homogeneity rather than as heterogeneous, dynamic and constantly changing in practice. To study the state's dynamic form of action, I highlight a particular analytical mode that I term the 'conceptual mode'. This mode of analysis lies between the object mode of analysis (concerned with the structure and form of the state) and the idea mode of analysis (interested in how the state, as an imaginary encompassing entity, increases its power).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)283-307
Number of pages25
JournalAnthropological Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • biological threats
  • events
  • preparedness
  • state analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'The re-forming state: Actions and repercussions in preparing for future biological events'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this