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Social Science in Epidemics: Influenza and SARS Lessons Learned

This report is the third instalment of the ‘Social Science in Epidemics’ series, commissioned by the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Direct Assistance (OFDA). In this series, past outbreaks are reviewed in order to identify social science ‘entry points’ for emergency interventions and preparedness activities. The aim is to determine tangible ways to address the […]

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Cultural Epidemiology of Pandemic Influenza in Urban and Rural Pune, India: A Cross-Sectional, Mixed-Methods Study

The objective of this study was to identify and compare socio-cultural features of pandemic influenza with reference to illness-related experience, meaning and behaviour in urban and rural areas of India. Cross-sectional, mixed-methods, cultural epidemiological survey with vignette-based interviews. Semi-structured explanatory model interviews were used to study community ideas of the 2009 influenza pandemic. In-depth interviews […]

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Biocommunicability and the Biopolitics of Pandemic Threats

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 […]

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Epidemics and Resistance in Colonial Sierra Leone during the First World War

Regional and global disease epidemics, which followed in the wake of the First World War, became the crucial tipping point in the balance between resistance and accommodation that had been established between the British colonial administration and newly colonized people of the Sierra Leone Protectorate. From 1915 to 1919, a smallpox epidemic and the global […]

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The Social and Political Lives of Zoonotic Disease Models: Narratives, Science and Policy

Zoonotic diseases currently pose both major health threats and complex scientific and policy challenges, to which modelling is increasingly called to respond. In this article we argue that the challenges are best met by combining multiple models and modelling approaches that elucidate the various epidemiological, ecological and social processes at work. These models should not […]

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Epidemics and the Politics of Knowledge: Contested Narratives and Pathways in H1N1 Response

This article explores the politics of knowledge involved in understanding and responding to epidemics in an era of global health governance and biosecurity. It develops and applies an approach focused on how multiple, competing narratives about epidemics are constructed, mobilized and interact, and selectively justify pathways of intervention and response. A detailed ethnographic case study […]

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