1st Edition

Global Public Health Vigilance Creating a World on Alert

By Lorna Weir, Eric Mykhalovskiy Copyright 2010
    230 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    230 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Global Public Health Vigilance is the first sociological book to investigate recent changes in how global public health authorities imagine and respond to international threats to human health.

    This book explores a remarkable period of conceptual innovation during which infectious disease, historically the focus of international disease control, was displaced by "international public health emergencies," a concept that brought new responsibilities to public health authorities, helping to shape a new project of global public health security.

    Drawing on research conducted at the World Health Organization, this book analyzes the formation of a new social apparatus, global public health vigilance, for detecting, responding to and containing international public health emergencies. Between 1995 and 2005 a new form of global health surveillance was invented, international communicable disease control was securitized, and international health law was fundamentally revised.

    This timely volume raises critical questions about the institutional effects of the concept of emerging infectious diseases, the role of the news media in global health surveillance, the impact of changes in international health law on public health reasoning and practice, and the reconstitution of the World Health Organization as a power beyond national sovereignty and global governance. It initiates a new research agenda for social science research on public health.

    1. Knowing Global Public Health  2. Emerging Infectious Diseases: An Active Concept  3. Early Warning Outbreak Detection and Alert: A Technique  4. From Infectious Disease to Public Health Emergency  5. A World on Alert: Emergency Vigilance in Global Biopolitics  6. Concluding


    Lorna Weir is Professor of Sociology, York University (Toronto). She specializes in health and social theory, publishing on birth (Pregnancy, Risk and Biopolitics: On the Threshold of the Living Subject, Routledge 2006), public health and sexuality. Her current research is on securitizing public health, governing synthetic biology, and sacrifice in biopolitics.

    Eric Mykhalovskiy is an associate professor of sociology at York University. His research explores the social organization of health knowledges and focuses empirically on HIV/AIDS. Most recently, with Marsha Rosengarten, he co-edited "HIV/AIDS in its Third Decade," a special issue of Social Theory and Health (2009).