Loughborough University
LBAWMB_Keele_0110.pdf (179 kB)

‘Value’, ‘cost’ and ethics: UK airports and the governance of pandemic H1N1 risk

Download (179 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 2010-01-21, 15:16 authored by Lucy Budd, Adam WarrenAdam Warren, Morag Bell
The outbreak and subsequent worldwide spread of pandemic influenza H1N1, popularly known as ‘swine flu’, from the spring of 2009 has illustrated our continued microbial vulnerability in a highly interconnected aeromobile world. The UK has been particularly affected by the first ‘wave’ of infection, with some commentators suggesting this was an inevitable consequence of the country’s status as a hub of global air communications. Given that the virus was almost certainly brought to the UK by holidaymakers returning from Mexico, the role of the UK airport as the ‘first line’ of defence against the importation of infectious disease has been subject to particular scrutiny. An important debate has subsequently emerged surrounding the ‘rights’ of airline passengers to move unimpeded through the world’s airports (without being subjected to medical screening) against the ‘rights’ of individual nations to be protected from the spread of infection through the employment of ‘strict’ screening practices. Focusing on concepts of ‘value’ and ‘cost’, as applied to individual ‘forms of life’, we consider how the governance of H1N1 risk at UK airports has generated a set of complex and interlocking biopolitical and ethical concerns associated with the safeguarding of the national border. We conclude by indicating how this tension, between securing and ethically valuing life, may inform future UK policy responses to infectious disease control at its international airports. One means is through a process of policy transfer.



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment


BUDD, L., WARREN, A.P. and BELL, M., 2010. ‘Value’, ‘cost’ and ethics: UK airports and the governance of pandemic H1N1 risk. The Biopolitics of Value(s): an ESRC Seminar Series, Co-sponsored by the Biopolitics of Security Research Network and Research Institute for Law, Politics, and Justice, Claus Moser Research Centre, University of Keele, January 19th-20th 2010.


  • NA (Not Applicable or Unknown)

Publication date



This conference paper was presented at ‘The Biopolitics of Value(s)': an ESRC Seminar Series. For further details of this conference please visit: http://www.keele.ac.uk/research/lpj/bos/events/Biopolitics of Values docs/ValuesWorkshop.html


  • en

Usage metrics

    Loughborough Publications


    Ref. manager