Problematizing Smoking in Sub-Saharan Africa: Tobacco and the Reconfiguration of Health and Development
Chronic diseases and related unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking were for a long time thought to be an issue that was exclusive to the rich, industrialised countries of North America and Europe. In contrast, the problems in sub-Saharan Africa were deemed to be infectious diseases and malnutrition. If anything, the cultivation, production and trade of tobacco was viewed as critical to the economic development and health of the former colonies. This view has changed radically over the last twenty years: Today, smoking is seen as one of the major challenges for development in the twenty-first century. It is thought that related chronic diseases are a negative consequence of development. As a consequence, aid agencies are now encouraging African governments to set up tobacco control programs. They are viewed as an investment in human capital and health that will help generate economic development by improving the population’s productivity levels. In his lecture, David Reubi will examine this epistemological rupture and explore the intellectual traditions, the expert networks and institutional changes that made it possible.
David Reubi is a sociologist and anthropologist working on the politics of knowledge in contemporary global health and biomedicine. He is a Wellcome Trust Fellow at the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College London.
This event is part of the joint lecture series "Global Health and the Politics of Knowledge". It is organized by the WZB Junior Research Groups “Global Humanitarian Medicine” and “Governance for Global Health”.
The event will be held in English with no translation into German.