Health screening, public health, globalization, public sphere


Note: In lieu of an abstract, this is the article's first paragraph.

"As the world has become steadily more interdependent over the last century, disease has been able to spread with increasing ease. As a consequence of this new danger, the international community has changed the way that it understands contagion, and public health has taken on new roles and new meanings around the world. I argue that the globalization of public health and the relatively new perception of diseases as “global” threats have dramatically altered practices of health screening, both at the border and beyond. Above all, these changes also reveal the importance of public health systems in supporting the nation-state system as a whole. Using a brief history of the WHO, Part I discusses how globalization has facilitated a shift in thinking about disease as a “global” threat rather than as an “international” problem. Part II examines the historical significance of public health policies in defining national identities, as well as the extent to which globalization has made this difficult. Finally, Part III uses three case studies to suggest that the new “global health” paradigm has provided nation-states with the tools to reassert claims to national sovereignty and identity-building in an increasingly globalized world."