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Title: A political ecology of bovine tuberculosis eradication in Northern Ireland
Author: Robinson, Philip Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 6377
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2014
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Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is arguably the most important animal health problem in the world. TB is endemic in the Global South, and also affects several nations and regions with highly developed cattle farming industries and statutory eradication programmes in the European Union, including Northern Ireland. The disease has implications for livestock agriculture, wildlife ecology, public health, and the national economy. In addition to scientific and technical complexities, socio-economic and socio-cultural factors affect efforts to control the disease. Disease problems such as TB at the human-nature interface are complex and indeterminate, and require innovative multidisciplinary research to find holistic and workable solutions: geography has much to contribute. This investigation uses a political ecology framework, and provides explanations for the historical and geographical patterns of the disease through a ‘chain of explanation’ approach (Blaikie & Brookfield, 1987). It utilizes political ecology, STS, rural, cultural, health, ‘more-than-human’ and veterinary literatures to produce a political ecology of animal disease control in the First World. Significantly, this account is as much about people and politics as it is about land use, technology, cattle, badgers, bacteria and disease. Conducted from the positionality of being a vet and a farmer’s son, and based on ethnographic interviews with farmers, vets, policy makers and other agricultural industry representatives, the links in the chain explain why the statutory eradication programme has not yet been successful in achieving its original aim. The disease continues to spread across the landscape and evades efforts to eradicate. The thesis shows how TB permeates time and space shaped by global economic forces, political structures, cultural practices and complex ecologies. TB, often invisible and underestimated, must be made visible again. New network structures are required to rescale governance and move closer to the target of TB eradication.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available