Foto: Matthias Friel
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, global health has increasingly entered the public discourse in the last years. The meaning of ‘global health’, however, is manigfold and contentious. Not only has it changed historically, but today it is interpreted very differently and used to refer to threats, conflicts and inequalities but also to rights and commonalities. What does it mean and imply when we think of health as a human right, as a security issue or global public good? What kind of political actions do these understandings privilege, when and why have they changed and how do different framings promote certain actors and policy options while excluding others?
This seminar invites students to critically engage with these kinds of questions drawing from construcivist IR’s premises that, firstly, language, political practice and power are intertwined, and, secondly, that meaning-structures and their effects can be traced empirically by studying ‘proxies’ or ‘artefacts’ in the form of discursive practices. After a recapture of core constructivist-interpretive approaches we look at how these have been translated into methodological programmes and frameworks for analysis. We then move to critically appraise a wide range of global health controversies and challenges, identifying main actors, competing priorities and contextual factors. At the end of the seminar, students will have advanced knowledge of the main debates and actors in global health and be equipped with interpretive methodological tools to critically analyse global health discourses.
The seminar's first session will be held on 3 November. All course material will be provided upon the first session
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