More-than-Human Dynamics of Inequality in the Governance of Pandemic Threats: Intersectionality, Social Positionings, and the Nonhuman during the 2014 Ebola Outbreak
In responding to ongoing viral outbreak emergencies, decision-makers constantly face the need to deploy governance measures to meet uncertain scenarios. One of the key aspects of such work is to identify different sources of threat, assess the risk that they pose, and to act in consequence. In this paper, we aim to direct attention toward ways in which science-based international governance practices reproduce various social inequalities by enacting social divisions based on categorizations into the threatening and the worthy of protection. We propose that these practices are usefully approached from the perspective we label more-than-human intersectionality and illustrate this with examples from the 2014 Ebola outbreak. More specifically, we argue that adopting a more-than-human intersectional approach importantly sheds light on connections between outbreak response and inequalities in global health that both precede and emerge in governance practices that provide unequally distributed access to care and protection. Furthermore, we claim that this approach extends our understanding of the role played by nonhuman actors in global health policy and the necessity to pay attention to how those nonhumans motivate specific paths for outbreak response that intersect with social positionings and subsequent dynamics of marginalization and oppression.
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