Ebola Exceptionalism: On the Intersecting Political and Health Geographies of the 2014-2015 Epidemic
Wilson, Margaret M.
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The outbreak of Ebola virus disease that began in Guinea in December 2013 has evolved into an epidemic that is unprecedented in many ways. The number of cases and deaths, geographical distribution, social and political impact, and duration of the epidemic have created a global public health crisis so severe that WHO Director-General Margaret Chan has called it “the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced.” This thesis examines the multiple, overlapping, and contested discourses that have emerged in response to the epidemic, in the context of Ebola’s historical significance and current role within the dominant paradigms of contemporary global health. Competing discourses of disgust and care; the reinforcement and collapsing of social and spatial distances; and narratives of blame and responsibility across many scales are symptomatic of underlying tensions among competing conceptualizations and practices of global health.
- Geography