Who owns a deadly virus? Viral sovereignty, global health emergencies, and the matrix of the international

Elbe, Stefan (2022) Who owns a deadly virus? Viral sovereignty, global health emergencies, and the matrix of the international. International Political Sociology. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1749-5679

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This article investigates the global inequities imbricated in the international response to lethal viruses. It does so by developing a virographic approach to the study of international relations that builds upon the matrix methods pioneered within black feminist thought for unraveling particularly complex forms of interlocking oppression. Performing such a virography of international relations exposes the multifaceted economic, racial, and epistemological disparities embedded in the international management of emergent viruses. It further demonstrates how those multiple axes of international inequality intersect during viral outbreaks to form a deadly matrix of global subjugation—vital abandonment—that repeatedly deprives the world's majority population from equitable access to life-saving biomedical interventions. It finally also reveals how diplomatic assertions of viral sovereignty, that is, claiming legal ownership of pathogens, are directly enrolling lethal viruses now in the political strategies of countries seeking to resist their vital abandonment. Overall, a virography thus contributes to the broader study of international relations by foregrounding the global salience of epidemiological injustices and positionalities, by capturing the actant power of lethal viruses in contemporary world politics, and by intimating that the “international” can itself be studied as a continually reconfiguring matrix of interlocking and historically conditioned global inequities.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2022 09:27
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2022 13:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/105173

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