Antoine de Bengy Puyvallée: Norway’s Response to Ebola: Balancing Altruistic and Security Concerns

In Internasjonal Politikk, 2018.


Antoine de Bengy Puyvallée


This article explores the motivations behind Norway’s contributions to the global response to Ebola (2014). Unpacking the interests, norms and context at play, it finds that the repatriation of an Ebola-infected volunteer triggered a strong governmental response. Humanitarian in nature but partially securitized, this response was driven by altruistic and security concerns: a desire to provide assistance and the ambition to contain the epidemic at its source, while managing domestic fears.

This analysis concurs with publications highlighting the centrality of security considerations in the global Ebola response, while suggesting that humanitarian motivations should not be overlooked. Finally, it argues that the theoretical divide between a “statist” and “globalist” approach to global health security does not fully capture the complexity at play in the operationalisation of the concept. Therefore, the analysis introduces the idea of a “universalist” understanding of global health security, using the global level as referent for security and allowing for a balance between realpolitik and idealpolitik.


Ebola, global health security, securitization, humanitarian, constructivism

Published June 25, 2018 10:56 AM - Last modified June 25, 2018 10:57 AM