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How to survive the end of the future: Preppers, pathology, and the everyday crisis of insecurity

Barker, K (2019) How to survive the end of the future: Preppers, pathology, and the everyday crisis of insecurity. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 45 (2). pp. 483-496. ISSN 0020-2754

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Emergency preparedness is a distinctive feature of contemporary anticipatory politics, yet “preppers,” a sub‐culture who prepare to survive a range of possible crisis events through practices including stockpiling and survival skill development, are subject to media ridicule and academic dismissal. If the hoarder is the symbolic deviant figure of the consumer society, the prepper is that of the security society. Such constructions of prepper pathology, however, work to reinforce the neoliberal security state. By repositioning the prepper as an amplifier of conditions of the present, what emerges is an emblematic and anticipatory figure who troubles the cracks in the security state's governing logics, exposing its social differentiation and rehearsing the inevitability of its future failures. Drawing on qualitative research on UK prepping cultures, I define prepping across three constellations of imaginative‐material practices, concerning “value,” “temporalities,” and “crisis.” I argue that prepping exposes the contradictions of infrastructural weakening alongside the networked dependencies and restricted agency felt within late modernity, challenges the expert determination of what constitutes crisis, and unveils the myth of the universality of state security protection. Living with profound crisis attunement, preppers nevertheless recuperate pleasure in material potentiality and skilful practice, in thoughtful engagement with temporalities, and in the vitality of community and meaning formed in the times and spaces in, and around, crisis.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience; 1205 Urban and Regional Planning; 1604 Human Geography; Geography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2024 15:45
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2024 15:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/tran.12362
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22643
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