Since the turn of the millennium, enactment of possible emergencies and catastrophes has become
a most common way of producing knowledge about events yet to occur. Preparedness exercises
are frequently performed by public authorities at local and regional levels. Collaborative
approaches among relevant actors are enhanced and evaluated through simulated accidents and
acts of terror as well as school shootings and epidemic outbreaks. Due to the incalculability of
many modern threats, enactment is employed as a method for rendering potential future events
available as empirical phenomena. However, sometimes these potential futures are represented
in ways that correspond only to imagined and fictional worlds. The aim of this article is to explore
the enactment of unreal possibilities in contemporary preparedness exercises. The empirical
material employed for this purpose consists of crisis plans and exercise guides used in public
and official institutions in the United States as well as qualitative interviews with municipal
safety coordinators in Sweden.
2015. Vol. 52, no 2, 155-179 p.