Scales of governance: the role of surveillance in facilitating new diplomacy during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic

The 2009–2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic has highlighted the importance of global health surveillance. Increasingly, global alerts are based on 'unexpected’ 'events’ detected by surveillance systems grounded in particular places. An emerging global governance literature investigates the supposedly disruptive impact of public health emergencies on mobilities in an interdependent world. Little consideration has been given to the varied scales of governance – local, national and global – that operate at different stages in the unfolding of an 'event', together with the interactions and tensions between them. By tracking the chronology of the H1N1 pandemic, this paper highlights an emergent dialogue between local and global scales. It also draws attention to moments of national autonomy across the global North and South which undermined the WHO drive for transnational cooperation.