We invite proposals for a workshop on global governance and accountability, that is organized by a new network of scholars with support from the Descartes Center for the History and Philosophy of Science at Utrecht University. This network aims to bring critical, interdisciplinary perspectives to the recent history of global health, by getting together researchers from nations across the world who study the history of concepts and practices now closely associated with accountability in health care, and to ask them to think about the transnational movement of those practices among both developed and developing nations in an age of neo-colonialism and globalization. The network was founded by Frank Huisman (Utrecht University), Noortje Jacobs (Erasmus University Medical Center), Nancy Tomes (Stonybrook University New York), and Duncan Wilson (University of Manchester). Other network members currently are Anne-Emanuelle Birn (University of Toronto), Simplice Ayangma Bonoho (University of Geneva), Marcos Cueto (Fiocruz), Emily Harrison (Harvard University), Wen-Hua Kuo (National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan), Projit Bihari Mukharji (University of Pennsylvania), David Reubi (King’s College London), Dora Vargha (University of Exeter), Harry Yi-Jui Wu (University of Hong Kong).
Since 1945, new commitments to international cooperation have resulted in the establishment of bodies such as the World Health Organization and the World Medical Association to promote better health across the globe. By creating international networks of medical experts, policymakers, and relevant interest groups, “the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health” would come within reach. This development went hand in hand with changing concepts and practices of accountability in health care. Starting in the 1950s, doctors in many post-World War II nations began to experience growing demands to account for their actions, after they had enjoyed an unprecedented degree of respect and autonomy in the first half of the twentieth century. Such demands came in different domains of health care—including scientific research, clinical practice, and health care economics—and reflected different reasons, such as research exposés, new commitments to social citizenship, and rising costs. However, the net effect of these demands was that, by the end of the twentieth century, a “new style of professionalism” had emerged in health care, in which the performance of professionals had become regulated by all sorts of formalized procedures and protocols for communication and control.
These new demands for accountability, as well as the “accounting practices” that accompanied them, are often argued to have emerged first in the United States, Western Europe, and the British Commonwealth. Subsequently, with trade globalization in the 1970s and the fall of Communism in the 1980s, those discussions would have become ever more global, expanding to include the Global South and Eastern Europe. The mix of stakeholders involved and the timing of issues varied among nations, but the similarities were striking and the cross talk across national boundaries was intense.
That cross talk and its impact is what the newly established network Global Governance and Accountability in Post-World War II Health Care wants to examine. We will hold our first meeting on 21 and 22 July 2019 in the Netherlands. We invite scholars interested in thinking critically about the history of concepts and practices now closely associated with accountability in health care, and to explore the transnational movement of those practices among both developed and developing nations in recent history. Special attention will be given to the development and implementation of “control technologies” and “accounting practices” that were developed in this period to operationalize heightened demands for accountability in a globalizing world.
Submissions will be received until 15 April 2019 and should comprise of a 250-word abstract and a one-page CV with contact information. We welcome applications from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, including history, anthropology, and sociology. Those active in the global governance of health care interested to reflect historically on their profession are welcome to apply as well. Applications can be sent to email@example.com.