Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Protocol and the post-human performativity of security techniques



Nat O'Grady


© The Author(s) 2015. This article explores the deployment of exercises by the United Kingdom Fire and Rescue Service. Exercises stage, simulate and act out potential future emergencies and in so doing help the Fire and Rescue Service prepare for future emergencies. Specifically, exercises operate to assess and develop protocol; sets of guidelines which plan out the actions undertaken by the Fire and Rescue Service in responding to a fire. In the article I outline and assess the forms of knowledge and technologies, what I call the ‘aesthetic forces’, by which the exercise makes present and imagines future emergencies. By critically engaging with Karen Barad’s notion of post-human performativity, I argue that exercises provide a site where such forces can entangle with one another; creating a bricolage through which future emergencies are evoked sensually and representatively, ultimately making it possible to experience emergencies in the present. This understanding of exercises allows also for critical appraisal of protocol both as phenomena that are produced through the enmeshing of different aesthetic forces and as devices which premise the operation of the security apparatus on contingency.


O’Grady, N., & O'Grady, N. (2016). Protocol and the post-human performativity of security techniques. cultural geographies, 23(3), 495-510.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 9, 2015
Online Publication Date Oct 9, 2015
Publication Date Jul 1, 2016
Journal Cultural Geographies
Print ISSN 1474-4740
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 3
Pages 495-510
Keywords protocol, performativity, security, exercises, aesthetics, posthumanism
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations