Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Jappah JV, Smith DT. Global governmentality: Biosecurity in the era of infectious diseases, Global Public Health. 2015;10(10):1139-56. Epub 2015 May 18.

doi: 10.1080/17441692.2015.1038843

Abstract
This paper uses Foucault’s concept of governmentality to examine relationships between globalisation, the threat of infectious diseases and biosecurity. It draws attention to forms of calculated practices which Foucault notes as technologies of power that aim to foster positive demographic and economic trends in societies through the apparatus of security. These practices are employed at the global level with similar ambitions; hence, we adopt the term global governmentality. We discuss the applications of global governmentality by actors in the global core through the apparatus of security and (neo)liberal economic practices. We then provide examples of resistance/contestation from actors mainly in the global periphery through discussions of viral sovereignty; access to essential medicines, including HIV drugs; and health for all as a human right. We conclude that despite the core-periphery power asymmetry and competing paradigms, these developments tend to complement and/or regulate the phenomenon termed global governmentality, which is made evident by the tremendous successes in global health.

Keywords: globalisation, infectious disease, biosecurity, governmentality, global health,

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