Co/Immunity and the Biopolitics of Purity: ‘Purity Is Danger’

  • Nik Brown


The concluding chapter of the book takes its initial cue from the title of Mary Douglas’ eponymous classic Purity and Danger (1966). The chapter critically revisits Douglas’ insights to think about a potentially more integrated perspective on the dangers of purity. Douglas provides an initial framework for thinking about the socio-cultural and classificatory bases of pollution, risk and endangerment. The chapter looks back theoretically and empirically over the preceding discussions to articulate the notion of purity as itself a source of danger. It explores the implications of a purist politics of immunity and biosecurity and, drawing on a diverse range of literatures, examines the scope for thinking about ‘co/immunity’ in biopolitics.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nik Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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