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The oversecuritization of global health: changing the terms of debate

Wenham, Clare ORCID: 0000-0001-5378-3203 (2019) The oversecuritization of global health: changing the terms of debate. International Affairs, 95 (5). 1093–1110. ISSN 0020-5850

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ia/iiz170


Linking health and security has become a mainstream approach to health policy issues over the past two decades. So much so that the discourse of global health security has become close to synonymous with global health, their meanings being considered almost interchangeable. While the debates surrounding the health–security nexus vary in levels of analysis from the global to the national to the individual, this article argues that the consideration of health as a security issue, and the ensuing path dependencies, have shifted in three ways. First, the concept has been broadened to the extent that a multitude of health issues (and others) are constructed as threats to health security. Second, securitizing health has moved beyond a rhetorical device to include the direct involvement of the security sector. Third, the performance of health security has become a security threat in itself. These considerations, the article argues, alter the remit of the global health security narrative; the global health community needs to recognize this shift and adapt its use of security-focused policies accordingly.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: Health Policy
Social Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2019 17:00
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 07:36

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