High politics, low politics, and global health

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Abstract: It has become commonplace to argue that global health has ascended from "low politics"to the ranks of "high politics"in international relations - those issues of existential importance to the state and which concern its very survival. Despite its ubiquity, the actual substance of such a shift in the framing of global health is largely unexamined. In this article, I argue that empirical evidence belies the idea that global health is a "high politics"issue. This dichotomy makes little sense, and efforts to reframe global health as a "high politics"or securitized issue rarely succeed. While it is undoubtedly true that global health has received significantly greater attention from the international community over the past twenty-five to thirty years, that attention does not spring from global health being reframed as a "high politics"issue for states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-170
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Global Security Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. All rights reserved.


  • Global health
  • High politics
  • Low politics
  • Security


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