Securitization and health

Authored by: Jeremy Youde

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Public Health

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781138938823
eBook ISBN: 9781315675411
Adobe ISBN:


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The securitization of health has become increasingly common in the post-Cold War era, but it remains highly contested. This chapter begins by defining securitization—the process and practice of reframing an issue as a security threat—and what it means in the context of global health. It then turns to the potential benefits and downsides to securitizing health. The possible benefits include increased attention from policymakers and the public; greater levels of resources for global health issues; and aligning the concept of health more closely with the lived experiences of people around the world. The potential downsides include the possibility of introducing counterproductive approaches to health issues; the links to military and police forces; the ambiguity over which health issues get securitized; and unresolved questions about accountability and agency.

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