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01.12.2010 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 4/2010

EcoHealth 4/2010

Climate Change, Vector-borne Disease and Interdisciplinary Research: Social Science Perspectives on an Environment and Health Controversy

Zeitschrift:
EcoHealth > Ausgabe 4/2010
Autoren:
Ben W. Brisbois, S. Harris Ali

Abstract

Over the last two decades, the science of climate change’s theoretical impacts on vector-borne disease has generated controversy related to its methodological validity and relevance to disease control policy. Critical social science analysis, drawing on science and technology studies and the sociology of social movements, demonstrates consistency between this controversy and the theory that climate change is serving as a collective action frame for some health researchers. Within this frame, vector-borne disease data are interpreted as a symptom of climate change, with the need for further interdisiplinary research put forth as the logical and necessary next step. Reaction to this tendency on the part of a handful of vector-borne disease specialists exhibits characteristics of academic boundary work aimed at preserving the integrity of existing disciplinary boundaries. Possible reasons for this conflict include the leadership role for health professionals and disciplines in the envisioned interdiscipline, and disagreements over the appropriate scale of interventions to control vector-borne diseases. Analysis of the competing frames in this controversy also allows identification of excluded voices and themes, such as international political economic explanations for the health problems in question. A logical conclusion of this analysis, therefore, is the need for critical reflection on environment and health research and policy to achieve integration with considerations of global health equity.

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