Health has become a policy issue of global concern. Worried that the unstructured, polycentric, and pluralist nature of global health governance is undermining the ability to serve emergent global public health interests, some commentators are calling for a more systematic institutional response to the “global health crisis.” Yet global health is a complex and uncertain policy issue. This article uses narrative analysis to explore how actors deal with these complexities and how uncertainties affect global health governance. By comparing three narratives in terms of their basic assumptions, the way they define problems as well as the solutions they propose, the analysis shows how the unstructured pluralism of global health policy making creates a wide scope of policy conflict over the global health crisis. This wide scope of conflict enables effective policy-oriented learning about global health issues. The article also shows how exclusionary patterns of cooperation and competition are emerging in health policy making at the global level. These patterns threaten effective learning by risking both polarization of the policy debate and unanticipated consequences of health policy. Avoiding these pitfalls, the analysis suggests, means creating global health governance regimes that promote openness and responsiveness in deliberation about the global health crisis.
Research Article|April 01 2012
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Steven Ney; Making Sense of the Global Health Crisis: Policy Narratives, Conflict, and Global Health Governance. J Health Polit Policy Law 1 April 2012; 37 (2): 253–295. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-1538620
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