HE02
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Global Health Charismas

Convenors:
Clare Herrick (King's College London )
Ann Kelly (King's College London)
Stream:
Health
Start time:
Session slots:
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Short abstract:

This panel brings together diverse empirical cases to interrogate the temporal, spatial, cultural and geographical structures of charismatic authority to understand how and why some health problems convey an acute sense of threat or empathy while others fail to do so.

Long abstract:

This panel develops the notion of global health charisma to clarify the vicissitudes of global health attention and neglect. Charisma has provided a useful heuristic across geography and anthropology to unpick the logics and deployment of power and authority, the investment of the non-human with charismatic properties (Lorimer, 2007) and the complex affective responses that these processes create. These responses, in turn, help shed light on how and why certain issues get prioritised and why others, despite often inarguable import, get by-passed. Bringing together anthropologists and geographers to explore the contours of charisma, its creation and strategic deployment across the multiple realms that constitute the global health field offers opportunities for new conversations about what matters, how and why. The theoretical frame of charisma has been deployed across global health to help explain, for instance, the disparities between those disease that succeed or fail to generate political and popular concern and action (Herrick, 2017; 2019), the prophetic power of scientists to bring others into focus (Caduff, 2014, 2015) or the evidentiary tools that can help transform a local crisis into a global health emergency (Kelly 2018). This panel will bring together diverse empirical cases to interrogate the temporal, spatial, cultural and geographical structures of charismatic authority to better understand how and why some health problems become singularly able to convey an acute sense of threat or emergency - and therefore public concern and political action - while others remain subject to continued neglect.

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