High Politics, Low Politics, and Global Health

Journal of Global Security Studies

Author/s (editor/s):

Jeremy Youde

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:
Journal of Global Security Studies

Jeremy Youde, ‘High Politics, Low Politics, and Global Health’, Journal of Global Security Studies, 1(2) 2016: 157‒70.

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.

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