Discourses of disease, discourses of disadvantage: A critical analysis of National Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plans
Growing recognition of the threat of pandemic influenza to global health has led to increased emphasis on pandemic influenza preparedness planning. Previous analysis of national pandemic preparedness plans has revealed that those plans paid scant attention to the needs and interests of the disadvantaged. This paper investigates those findings via critical discourse analysis of the same plans as well as World Health Organization guidance documents. The analysis reveals that the texts operate within and as parts of an ordered universe of discourse. Among the six discourses which emerge from the analysis the scientific, political, and legal dominate the social, cultural, and ethical. This order of discourse delineates a specific regime of truths within which the lives, needs, and interests of the disadvantaged are masked or neglected. Unless the plans recognize their discursive construction, implementation of the policies and practices they prescribe runs the risk of further disadvantaging those very populations most likely to require protection. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.