Resource detail

Resource ID 412
Title Global Health Governance as a contested space: competing discourses, interests and actors
Author Owain Williams & Simon Rushton


The literature on Global Health Governance has developed rapidly over recent years with a large number of scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds entering the field. Much of this work has been focussed either around the governance roles of specific institutions (IOs, GHPs, foundations etc) or the governance of particular health problems (most commonly infectious disease). Now seems to be a suitable point at which to take a step back and ask some more conceptual questions about how Global Health Governance works and what drives contemporary global responses to health problems.

This paper argues that Global Health Governance can best be understood as a process of contestation between a variety of different discourses, each of which takes a particular approach to health as a global issue, and each of which generates certain policy responses. It argues that the key contemporary discourses influencing Global Health Governance are biomedicine, human rights, economism and security, but that other (currently recessive) discourses also have an influence. These discourses are promoted by different global health actors and each has gained salience in particular issue areas. The paper argues that it is in the interplay of these discourses – a process in which both power and ideas play a role – that contemporary Global Health Governance is shaped.

Resource type Paper
Source/origin External source
Record created 2014-07-20 11:44
Record updated 2014-07-20 11:44
Record editor Helen Parsons
Subjects Regulation and governance