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The Consequences of Securitizing Health Crises in Southeast Asia: opportunities or obstacles?

Mohd Azmi, Nadirah Binti (2018) The Consequences of Securitizing Health Crises in Southeast Asia: opportunities or obstacles? PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The debate on the positive and negative dimensions of security tends to draw from securitization theory. Securitization theory has provided a service to this debate by exploring what happens when particular threats are labeled as a security issue by the securitizing actors. The positive/negative debate of securitization theory, especially in relation to migration, the environment and health, has been well established over the last decade. However, like other international relations (IR) theories, securitization theory is arguably ‘western-centric’ in outlook and scope, and the debate has not reflected the voices and experiences of other regional contexts. This thesis contributes to securitization debates by adding the perspective and experience of the Southeast Asia region. Southeast Asia provides a complex testing site for the securitization processes and debates in relation to a key public ‘security’ challenge, that of public health. The thesis empirically tests the consequences of securitizing health issues in Southeast Asia, focussing in particular upon contagious disease. Although public health challenges are a global phenomenon, how they are addressed varies across geographic regions, and Southeast Asia is often associated with a particular political culture which shapes its governing norms. By examining how public health crises have been approached as security threats in the regional context, the thesis challenges some of the assumptions at the heart of securitization theory. It also challenges the narrow perceptions of the ASEAN’s practice of the regional norms. This project explores the impact of securitizing infectious diseases in Southeast Asia through the methodology of process tracing, relying on document analysis and semi-structured elite interviews for data. The series of infectious disease outbreaks that occurred between 2003 and 2010 provide the empirical focus. The analysis demonstrates that ASEAN has collectively securitized diseases that bring pandemic risk and that such securitization has clearly made a positive impact upon health security cooperation in the region. Instead of encouraging state-centric thinking, the securitization of health crises has promoted ASEAN to become more regional-centric, in some ways transcending the region’s norms, which have historically obstructed cooperation.  

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: non-traditional security, health, ASEAN, cooperation
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) (Leeds) > Centre for International Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Nadirah Mohd Azmi
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2019 13:33
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2019 13:33
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23253

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