Concrete governmentality : shelters and the transformations of preparedness

Deville, Joseph and Guggenheim, Michael and Hrdličková, Zuzana (2014) Concrete governmentality : shelters and the transformations of preparedness. The Sociological Review, 62 (Supp. ). pp. 183-210. ISSN 0038-0261

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This article analyzes how shelters act as a form of concrete governmentality. Shelters, like other forms of preparedness, are political acts in the absence of a disaster. They are materializations and visualizations of risk calculations. Shelters as a type of concrete governmentality pose the question of how to build something that lasts and resists, and remains relevant both when the object that is being resisted keeps changing and when the very act of building intervenes so publicly in the life of the restless surrounding population. Comparing shelters in India, Switzerland and the UK, we highlight three transformations of preparedness that shelters trigger. First we analyse how shelters compose preparedness by changing the relationship between the state and its citizens. Rather than simply limiting risk or introducing ‘safety’, the building of shelters poses questions about who needs protection and why and, as we will show, this can generate controversy. Second, we analyse how shelters decompose preparedness by falling out of use. Third, we focus on struggles to recompose preparedness: Changing ideas about disasters thus lead to shelters being suddenly out of place, or needing to adapt.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
The Sociological Review
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Deville, J., Guggenheim, M. and Hrdličková, Z. (2014), Concrete governmentality: shelters and the transformations of preparedness. The Sociological Review, 62: 183–210. doi: 10.1111/1467-954X.12129 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? sheltersmaterialityrisknuclear warpreparednesssociology and political science ??
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Deposited On:
21 Oct 2015 04:59
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 00:36