Global Biopolitics and Emerging Infectious Disease
Comparative Program on Health and Society Lupina Foundation Working Paper Series, 2009–2010
20 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2011
Date Written: October, 12 2011
This paper takes as its starting point the idea that emerging infectious disease has become a paradigmatic way of thinking about disease in the West in recent years. These understandings are often directly or indirectly attributed to the phenomenon of globalization. In addition, the last decade has seen a growing interest in the possibility of a future influenza pandemic that could have dire consequences for global health. This heightened concern has been accompanied by an increase in investment in planning that aims at preparedness against this imminent yet uncertain event by global and national authorities, pointing to pandemic as both a health issue and a broader social problem. This paper builds upon existing social science research that explores understandings of infectious disease within broader contexts. The theoretical concepts of biopolitics, securitization, risk and race, and their relation to understandings of emerging infectious disease are discussed and are followed by a discussion of the implications of global biopolitics for understanding the field of global pandemic governance in relation to broader political and economic contexts. This analysis illustrates the importance of exploring understandings and effects of inequality in relation to the regulation of infectious disease within contemporary global contexts.
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