Enter the Fourth Horseman: Health Security and International Relations Theory

Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations

Author/s (editor/s):

Jeremy Youde

Publication year:

2005

Publication type:

Journal article

Jeremy Youde, ‘Enter the Fourth Horseman: Health Security and International Relations Theory’, Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, 6(1) 2005: 193‒208.

Many within the security studies community reject the notion of changing the concept of security to include infectious disease and health. They claim that doing so would dilute security’s meaning, making it a catchall term for anything negative. What, then, is the future of the health security and human security paradigms? I argue that health security has an important role to play in debates over international security, but that its advocates have approached the debate in the wrong manner. Instead of attempting to create a new security paradigm and hoping for acceptance within the academic debate, health security advocates would be better served by engaging existent theories of international relations and international security. Focusing on the impact of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, I demonstrate how infectious disease control can be integrated into the three major schools of thought in American international relations theory – neorealism, neoliberalism, and constructivism.

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