GLOBALISATION AND HEALTH SECURITY: A CASE STUDY OF DISTANT INDIVIDUAL RISK PERCEPTIONS OF THE 2014 EBOLA OUTBREAK
Journal of Security and Sustainability Issues
The wider awareness and recognition of human security threats has developed over the last several decades. Spurred on by globalization, greater human mobility, global media, economic interconnectedness and technological advancements, the securitization of non-military security threats have deepened and widened security discourses. The percieved risk posed by truly global threats have resulted in new international regimes and cooperation, national governments have reevaluated their national
... ity strategies, and grassroots movements have revealed and mobileized individuals around the world to action. Global health security threats, and in particular, pandemic diseases, are one just one of many threats currently facing the global community that has the potential to envoke fear and feelings of insecurity and panic, particularly when securitized through twenty four hour news networks and social media. The purpose of this study is to explore the securitization process of a health security threat, the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and risk perceptions of individuals living in a global city geographically distant from the outbreak. This study reports the findings from interviews with eleven individuals based in the United Arab Emirates to explore their individual risk perceptions of the outbreak of the Ebola virus, and to understand how information about the outbreak was obtained, processed and consequently construed by these individuals. The findings suggested that with the increasing securitization of diseases, individual risk perceptions of the 2014 Ebola outbreak were a reflection of a variety of discourses concerning the security issue at the national and global levels. Therefore, in light of the increasing emergence and re-emergence of pandemic diseases and transborder global threats, it is important to consider individual perceptions of the threats and the influence of government, media (traditional and social media), and individual experiences in a global and interconnected world.