Biocommunicability and the biopolitics of pandemic threats

Charles L. Briggs, Mark Nichter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article we assess accounts of the H1N1 virus or "swine flu" to draw attention to the ways in which discourse about biosecurity and global health citizenship during times of pandemic alarms supports calls for the creation of global surveillance systems and naturalizes forms of governance. We propose a medical anthropology of epidemics to complement an engaged anthropology aimed at better and more critical forms of epidemic surveillance. A medical anthropology of epidemics provides insights into factors and actors that shape the ongoing production of knowledge about epidemics, how dominant and competing accounts circulate and interact, how different stakeholders (citizens, politicians, journalists, and policymakers) access and interpret information available from different sources-including through a variety of new digital venues-and what they do with it. These insights together provide a compelling agenda for medical anthropology and anyone working in health-related fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Anthropology
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009

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Medical Anthropology
Pandemics
anthropology
threat
surveillance
H1N1 Subtype Influenza A Virus
Anthropology
health
available information
journalist
politician
citizenship
Swine
stakeholder
governance
citizen
discourse
Health

Keywords

  • A(H1N1) influenza
  • Biocommunicability
  • Influenza
  • Medical anthropology
  • Swine flu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology

Cite this

Biocommunicability and the biopolitics of pandemic threats. / Briggs, Charles L.; Nichter, Mark.

In: Medical Anthropology, Vol. 28, No. 3, 07.2009, p. 189-198.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Briggs, Charles L. ; Nichter, Mark. / Biocommunicability and the biopolitics of pandemic threats. In: Medical Anthropology. 2009 ; Vol. 28, No. 3. pp. 189-198.
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