The Mutual Conditioning of Humans and Pathogens

Implications for Integrative Geographical Scholarship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We highlight an emerging mode of human-environment enquiry that is executed by cross-disciplinary teams, spurs innovation of hybrid methods, and leads to nonintuitive findings relevant beyond disciplinary framings or specific cases. The extension of this approach in health geography is particularly instructive. By focusing on material objects like soils, insects, or sewage, researchers from diverse epistemologies are compelled to translate conceptual models of disease causation, risk, and vulnerability. Humans and pathogens mutually condition one another, a result of continuously changing exposures (settlement and development patterns that modify pathogen and vector ecology) and institutional processes (legal, economic, and organizational contexts in which environments are modified and agents respond to risk). The dynamic interactions of pathogen ecologies and human institutions produce a type of coevolution, as evidenced by three cases we consider: bacteriological and helminth infections from urban wastewater irrigation, West Nile virus and its mosquito vector in the built environment, and Valley Fever and fungal distribution under changing climate and land disturbance. Place-based, contextual exposure pathways are shown to provide only a partial explanation of disease transmission and must be complemented by insights into individual and organizational agents' motivations, logics, and responses. The object in its context holds the key to understanding the intersection between physical and environmental, and human and governance geographies. Interactively identifying and pursuing theoretical and applied challenges in this manner allows researchers to move beyond entrenched subdisciplinary understandings to frame new supradisciplinary questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-985
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Volume102
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Fingerprint

conditioning
pathogen
ecology
health geography
West Nile virus
geography
Disease
legal process
disease transmission
settlement pattern
sewage
coevolution
mosquito
irrigation
epistemology
vulnerability
innovation
climate
insect
governance

Keywords

  • human-pathogen interaction
  • institutions
  • mosquitoes
  • Valley Fever
  • wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

@article{b398ac0d119747bbaabd6884ffe7b49b,
title = "The Mutual Conditioning of Humans and Pathogens: Implications for Integrative Geographical Scholarship",
abstract = "We highlight an emerging mode of human-environment enquiry that is executed by cross-disciplinary teams, spurs innovation of hybrid methods, and leads to nonintuitive findings relevant beyond disciplinary framings or specific cases. The extension of this approach in health geography is particularly instructive. By focusing on material objects like soils, insects, or sewage, researchers from diverse epistemologies are compelled to translate conceptual models of disease causation, risk, and vulnerability. Humans and pathogens mutually condition one another, a result of continuously changing exposures (settlement and development patterns that modify pathogen and vector ecology) and institutional processes (legal, economic, and organizational contexts in which environments are modified and agents respond to risk). The dynamic interactions of pathogen ecologies and human institutions produce a type of coevolution, as evidenced by three cases we consider: bacteriological and helminth infections from urban wastewater irrigation, West Nile virus and its mosquito vector in the built environment, and Valley Fever and fungal distribution under changing climate and land disturbance. Place-based, contextual exposure pathways are shown to provide only a partial explanation of disease transmission and must be complemented by insights into individual and organizational agents' motivations, logics, and responses. The object in its context holds the key to understanding the intersection between physical and environmental, and human and governance geographies. Interactively identifying and pursuing theoretical and applied challenges in this manner allows researchers to move beyond entrenched subdisciplinary understandings to frame new supradisciplinary questions.",
keywords = "human-pathogen interaction, institutions, mosquitoes, Valley Fever, wastewater",
author = "Scott, {Christopher A} and Robbins, {Paul F.} and Andrew Comrie",
year = "2012",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1080/00045608.2012.657511",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "102",
pages = "977--985",
journal = "Annals of the American Association of Geographers",
issn = "2469-4452",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Mutual Conditioning of Humans and Pathogens

T2 - Implications for Integrative Geographical Scholarship

AU - Scott, Christopher A

AU - Robbins, Paul F.

AU - Comrie, Andrew

PY - 2012/9

Y1 - 2012/9

N2 - We highlight an emerging mode of human-environment enquiry that is executed by cross-disciplinary teams, spurs innovation of hybrid methods, and leads to nonintuitive findings relevant beyond disciplinary framings or specific cases. The extension of this approach in health geography is particularly instructive. By focusing on material objects like soils, insects, or sewage, researchers from diverse epistemologies are compelled to translate conceptual models of disease causation, risk, and vulnerability. Humans and pathogens mutually condition one another, a result of continuously changing exposures (settlement and development patterns that modify pathogen and vector ecology) and institutional processes (legal, economic, and organizational contexts in which environments are modified and agents respond to risk). The dynamic interactions of pathogen ecologies and human institutions produce a type of coevolution, as evidenced by three cases we consider: bacteriological and helminth infections from urban wastewater irrigation, West Nile virus and its mosquito vector in the built environment, and Valley Fever and fungal distribution under changing climate and land disturbance. Place-based, contextual exposure pathways are shown to provide only a partial explanation of disease transmission and must be complemented by insights into individual and organizational agents' motivations, logics, and responses. The object in its context holds the key to understanding the intersection between physical and environmental, and human and governance geographies. Interactively identifying and pursuing theoretical and applied challenges in this manner allows researchers to move beyond entrenched subdisciplinary understandings to frame new supradisciplinary questions.

AB - We highlight an emerging mode of human-environment enquiry that is executed by cross-disciplinary teams, spurs innovation of hybrid methods, and leads to nonintuitive findings relevant beyond disciplinary framings or specific cases. The extension of this approach in health geography is particularly instructive. By focusing on material objects like soils, insects, or sewage, researchers from diverse epistemologies are compelled to translate conceptual models of disease causation, risk, and vulnerability. Humans and pathogens mutually condition one another, a result of continuously changing exposures (settlement and development patterns that modify pathogen and vector ecology) and institutional processes (legal, economic, and organizational contexts in which environments are modified and agents respond to risk). The dynamic interactions of pathogen ecologies and human institutions produce a type of coevolution, as evidenced by three cases we consider: bacteriological and helminth infections from urban wastewater irrigation, West Nile virus and its mosquito vector in the built environment, and Valley Fever and fungal distribution under changing climate and land disturbance. Place-based, contextual exposure pathways are shown to provide only a partial explanation of disease transmission and must be complemented by insights into individual and organizational agents' motivations, logics, and responses. The object in its context holds the key to understanding the intersection between physical and environmental, and human and governance geographies. Interactively identifying and pursuing theoretical and applied challenges in this manner allows researchers to move beyond entrenched subdisciplinary understandings to frame new supradisciplinary questions.

KW - human-pathogen interaction

KW - institutions

KW - mosquitoes

KW - Valley Fever

KW - wastewater

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84864571396&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84864571396&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/00045608.2012.657511

DO - 10.1080/00045608.2012.657511

M3 - Article

VL - 102

SP - 977

EP - 985

JO - Annals of the American Association of Geographers

JF - Annals of the American Association of Geographers

SN - 2469-4452

IS - 5

ER -