Article ID: CBB396192326

Endemic risks: influenza pandemics, public health, and making self-reliant Indian citizens (2020)


This article focuses on the politics of epidemics, health and development in the years between two pandemics of influenza in India, the so-called ‘Asian’ flu (1957) and the ‘Hong Kong’ flu (1968). I explore how public health and risk-focused cosmologies were constructed about urban life, and anchored in economic priorities about development planning, industrial productivity, and self-reliance in a modernizing Indian nation. How were pandemics ‘seen’ and identified among urban populations that were already suffering from endemic risks? Were they viewed as a continuum of local, natural hazards or through wider geopolitical insecurities? The influenza crises were characterized by incapacitation and absenteeism from work rather than high mortality rates in Indian cities, causing worries about industrial plans. The Indian state intervened minimally, and articulated ideas and rhetoric about individual responsibility and ‘cooperative citizenship’ that set the stage for later manifestations of neoliberalism.

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Authors & Contributors
Honigsbaum, Mark
Martinez Martin, Abel Fernando
Ospina Diaz, Juan Manuel
Herran Falla, Oscar Fernando.
Sanford, A. Whitney
Bristow, Nancy K.
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Social History of Medicine
Medizin, Gesellschaft, und Geschichte
Isis Bibliography of the History of Science
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
University Press of Kentucky
Oxford University Press
I. B. Tauris
University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Cambridge University
New York University
Public health
Medicine and society
Infectious diseases
Disease and diseases
Time Periods
20th century, early
21st century
20th century, late
19th century
20th century
16th century
United States
Great Britain
Bogotá (Colombia)
National Health Service (Great Britain)

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