Antoine de Bengy Puyvallee & Sonja K. Kittelsen: “Disease Knows No Borders”: Pandemics and the Politics of Global Health Security

In Bjørkdahl & Carlsen, Pandemics, Publics, and Politics Staging Responses to Public Health Crises, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.


Antoine de Bengy Puyvallee & Sonja K. Kittelsen


Since the 1990s, the threat of pandemic has gained increased prominence on policy-makers’ agendas due to the emergence and resurgence of infectious diseases and an increasingly interconnected world. Encapsulated by the phrase “disease knows no borders”, this new risk environment has led to the rise of a new global health security regime, codified in the 2005 International Health Regulations and based on a paradigm of rapid detection and response to outbreak events, and a norm of collective action. Drawing on examples from the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic, we argue that pandemic preparedness is not just a technical matter, but also a political and normative one. We show that the global health security regime carries tensions that reflect asymmetries in actors’ capacities to put forward their priorities.

Published Dec. 10, 2018 3:11 PM - Last modified Oct. 30, 2020 4:18 PM