sabato 11 maggio 2013

Robert Peckham - Economies of contagion: financial crisis and pandemic @ Economy and Society Volume 42, Issue 2, 2013

Robert Peckham 

Economies of contagion: financial crisis and pandemic 

@ Economy and Society  Volume 42, Issue 2, 2013


The outbreak of an influenza A (H1N1) pandemic in 2009 coincided with a severe global financial downturn (2007–8). This paper examines the use of ‘contagion’ as a model for assessing the dynamics of both episodes: the spread of infection and the diffusion of shock through an intrafinancial system. The argument is put that a discourse of globally ‘emerging’ and ‘re-emerging’ infection helped to shape a theory of financial contagion, which developed, particularly from 1997, in relation to financial crises in ‘emerging markets’ in Southeast Asia. Conversely, concerns about the economic impact of a global pandemic have been influential in shaping public health responses to communicable diseases from the early 1990s. The paper argues that tracing the conceptual entanglement of financial and biological ‘contagions’ is important for understanding the interconnected global environment within which risk is increasingly being evaluated. The paper also considers the consequences of this analogizing for how financial crises are understood and, ultimately, how responses to them are formulated.
Robert Peckham is co-Director of the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches in the Department of History. He has held research fellowships at the university of Cambridge and University of Oxford, and has been a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Forthcoming publications include the co-edited volume Imperial contagions: Medicine, hygiene, and cultures of planning in Asia, and the edited volume Disease and crime: A history of social pathologies and the new politics of health. He is currently completing a monograph, Infective economies, supported by a major award from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.

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