A Spanner in the Works? Anti-Politics in Global Health Policy; Comment on “A Ghost in the Machine? Politics in Global Health Policy”

Document Type: Commentary

Authors

1 Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Queen Mary University, London, UK

2 National Health Service and Medact, London, UK

Abstract

The formulation of global health policy is political; and all institutions operating in the global health landscape are political. This is because policies and institutions inevitably represent certain values, reflect particular ideologies, and preferentially serve some interests over others. This may be expressed explicitly and consciously; or implicitly and unconsciously. But it’s important to recognise the social and political dimension of global health policy. In some instances however, the politics of global health policy may be actively denied or obscured. This has been described in the development studies literature as a form of ‘anti-politics’. In this article we describe four forms of anti-politics and consider their application to the global health sector.

Keywords

Main Subjects


 

  1. Bruen C, Brugha R. A Ghost in the Machine? Politics in Global Health Policy. Int J Health Policy Manag 2014; 3: 1–4. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2014.59
  2. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Interview: Richard Feachem. 2005 8 Dec [cited 2014 May]. Foreign Policy. Available from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/aids/interviews/feachem.html
  3. Li T. The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics. Durham: Duke University Press; 2007.
  4. Ferguson J. The Anti-Politics Machine: 'development', depoliticization and bureaucratic power in Lesotho. Minneapolis, Cambridge: University of Minneapolis Press, Cambridge University Press; 1990.
  5. Mosse D. Cultivating Development. An Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice. London: Pluto Press; 2005.
  6. Bebbington A. Donor–NGO Relations and Representations of Livelihood in Nongovernmental Aid Chains. World Development 2005; 33: 937–50.
  7. Schedler A. Introduction. In Schedler A, editor. The End of Politics? Explorations into Modern Antipolitics. New York: Macmillan; 1997. p. 1–20
  8. McCoy D, Jensen N, Kranzer K, Ferrand RA, Korenromp EL. Methodological and Policy Limitations of Quantifying the Saving of Lives: A Case Study of the Global Fund’s Approach. PLoS Med 2013; 10:  e1001522. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001522