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This book – the first to appear on this topic – is a radical exploration of a category that has emerged from recent emergency planning documents released by the US security state: the Universal Adversary.
The Universal Adversary – an abstract enemy – first emerged in security documents, but has since become central to emergency planning in general, and more specifically for preparations in the event of an attack. Exploring why this concept has emerged at this time – roughly in the last 10 years – the book demonstrates its centrality to the contemporary mobilisation of security and the defence of capital.
Examining the ways in which, behind the idea of the Universal Adversary, lies the problem of what is referred to as the ‘disgruntled worker’, the book further explores how the concept of the Universal Adversary builds on, and deploys, several key tropes in the history of ideas about state power and figures of resistance and disorder. Addressing the figures of the Zombie, the Devil and the Pirate, it shows how the ways in which they have been discussed as ‘universal adversaries’ reveal the deeper rationales within contemporary security politics.