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Security, Disease, Commerce: Ideologies of Postcolonial Global Health

Nicholas B. King
Social Studies of Science
Vol. 32, No. 5/6 (Oct. - Dec., 2002), pp. 763-789
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3183054
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Security, Disease, Commerce: Ideologies of Postcolonial Global Health
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Abstract

Public health in the United States and Western Europe has long been allied with national security and international commerce. During the 1990s, American virologists and public health experts capitalized on this historical association, arguing that 'emerging diseases' presented a threat to American political and economic interests. This paper investigates these arguments, which I call the 'emerging diseases worldview', and compares it to colonial-era ideologies of medicine and public health. Three points of comparison are emphasized: the mapping of space and relative importance of territoriality; the increasing emphasis on information and commodity exchange networks; and the transition from metaphors of conversion and a 'civilizing mission', to integration and international development. Although colonial and postcolonial ideologies of global health remain deeply intertwined, significant differences are becoming apparent.

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