Attention and Responsibility in Global Health : The Currency of Neglect book cover
1st Edition

Attention and Responsibility in Global Health
The Currency of Neglect

ISBN 9780367376536
Published September 15, 2021 by Routledge
204 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Attention and Responsibility in Global Health shows the construction of health through what is neglected and how the label of neglect is used to make the case that a shift in attitudes towards tropical diseases is based on changing policy practices of health and disease.

Tropical diseases have moved from being of high importance for European empires to being neglected and unknown, and then returning to the spotlight once again. During this process, the understanding, framing, and overall character of the disease grouping has changed through a rediscovery of a health issue once rendered neglectable. The book depicts this change in relevance of tropical diseases from colonial history to the present day diseases across political, cultural, and socio- economic contexts. It shows the transformation of tropical diseases as a grouping that uncovers the changing strategies, tactics, and unintended consequences of advocacy campaigning by scientists, NGOs, and policymakers to drive disease issues up the policy agenda.

Drawing on the emergent field of ignorance studies, the book explores ideas about the uses and deployment of both strategic and unintentional "not knowing". It is aimed at academics and students in science and technology studies, the sociology of health and medicine, environmental sociology, public policy, and the history of science.

Table of Contents

Part I: Becoming neglected

1. Introduction: caring about neglected narratives

2. Theoretical approaches to attention and neglect

3. The politics of disease categories

Part II: Becoming un-neglected

4. The transition of tropical diseases

5. Advocacy and measurement for neglect

6. Conclusion: using measurement and advocacy to showcase neglect

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Samantha Vanderslott is a University Research Lecturer at Oxford Vaccine Group, at the University of Oxford. She studies health and society topics with a focus on neglected tropical diseases, outbreak responses, and public attitudes to vaccines.


"In Attention and Responsibility in Global Health, Vanderslott brings important new perspectives to the concept of 'neglect', using tools from economics and history as well as anthropology and epidemiology. She elegantly unpicks how a policy problem is formed and raised in profile, and how solutions of various types come to be offered. As a scientist who has attempted advocacy for a highly neglected condition, I found this a fascinating guide to the conscious and subconscious framing of neglect that has contributed to the successes and the disappointments of the 'Neglected Tropical Disease' brand."

Gail Davey, University of Sussex