Pandemic influenza in China. An analysis of securitizing and desecuritizing discourses at the national level in online media (2009-2010)

Abraham Navarro Garcia//International Relations//11th of February 2015//3-4pm//Arts C133

Influenza masks

The pandemic of influenza A (H1N1) in 2009-2010 tested pandemic preparedness at different levels of governance. Countries had the challenge to adapt international mechanisms of response to their specific epidemic situation. China is strategic for the question of influenza because of environmental and social conditions that are propitious for the surge of influenza viruses that may become pandemic. The reaction of the country to the pandemic involved extraordinary measures of inter-sectoral co-ordination that were supposed to counter the perceived existential threat of the disease. This research focuses on the analysis of discourses in online media in the country where this framing of the disease as a security question occurred. The suggested focus is inspired by securitization, an approach that pays attention to those who claim the existence of security issues, the perceived threats, the social groups or elements that are allegedly threatened and the audiences of these discourses. The main argument to develop is that discourses that emphasise or temper the level of emergency of the referred threat coexist. Being aware of this coexistence helps understand securitization as a process where simultaneous issues gain or lose relevance as the health crisis evolves. Identifying continuities and variations in the extremity of the emergency contributes to a comprehensive analysis of the framing and “de-framing” of the pandemic as a health security crisis.

Biography

Abraham Navarro García does research on global health in China. His interest in that country started with his M.A. on Chinese Studies in El Colegio de México, an institution of advanced research in the social sciences. His professional experience includes lecturing in the National University of Mexico and research activities for The Center of Asian and African Studies in El Colegio de México (2010-2) and the Department of Political Science in the National Chengchi University in Taiwan (2012).

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