Accepted paper:

Health, governmentality and authority in Subsaharian Africa


José Luis De la Flor (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Paper short abstract:

Coordination between state institutions and civil society agents in providing healthcare is not just a challenge to development programs it is the stage of a historical battle around health authority in postcolonial African societies.

Paper long abstract:

Different studies have analyzed international health politics in Africa identifying questions related with effectiveness, ideology, sanitary targets or public governance. This paper wants to contribute to this healthcare debate in Africa stressing the potential of Governmentality Studies. This paper proposes that healthcare has been one of the basic competences to establish authority in postcolonial Africa. So, this paper researches aid to healthcare systems and the role of non-state agents as well as political processes related with authority and health as a political terrain. The paper has four points: Firstly, the paper presents some of the main contributions to Governemantality Health Studies in Africa and their applications to one target of the panel; the study of the relationship between the different health actors in Africa. Secondly, the paper presents the possibilities to adopt Bayart´s extraversion concept to study the effect of aid on healthcare and particularly the role of themain international agents. I defend these possibilities through different contemporary historical examples. Thirdly, the paper studies the good governance agenda for the health sector in Africa as a political terrain where different actors seek global and local legitimization. Finally the paper presents some examples where the fight for authority is central to understanding the effect of aid on healthcare and welfare systems in Africa.

panel P129
Health and governance in sub-Saharan Africa