Projets achevés

Zika epidemic and microcephaly risk : Global health emergency VS biopolitics and social inequalities regarding perinatal care in Brazil

Projet scientifique

Membres du CEPED participant au projet




The purpose of this postdoctoral research is to investigate the interrelation between global governance regimes on the body, health care management and production of knowledge, techniques and discourses related to Zika prevention and perinatal care in Brazil. Zika virus has been recently declared “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC) by the WHO. Thus we will study its status within international pandemic and its focus on at-risk individuals, especially pregnant women.
The current state of Public Health Emergency brings once again to light healthcare policies issues in Brazil notably with regard to unequal access to medical care, prohibition of abortion, pregnancy prevention, maternal and child care, inefficient social welfare.
That is why this investigation requires a multiscale study of power dynamics from global experts, through Brazilian doctors and jurists, to civil society actors. This multiscale focus on regimes and institutions of expertise and knowledge can be approached through three different dimensions in line with the different ways biomedical technologies may be used :
A global health dimension where Brazil is entangled in a universal hegemony of western biomedicine and has to respond to global actors such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) – mainly on protection against mosquitos, birth control and perinatal care issues – specifically in the current situation of increasing pandemic risks and uncertainty (Boudia, Henry, 2015) ;
A national dimension of Brazilian health policy where biomedicalisation is the routine way of managing women’s health, yet unequally distributed among regions of the country due to the strong social inequalities affecting healthcare access, of the private vs. the public healthcare systems (Löwy, Sanabria, 2016) ;
• And a local dimension of social practices where the body is governed by ontological regimes of “nature” and “technology” : one main medical (and now widespread) ontology of the enhanced human body that needs to be controlled and domesticated through technology to improve its performance and that of its descendants. It includes the possible local reinterpretation and ownership of health policies and biotechnologies (Beaudevin, Pordié, 2015) in the way there are practiced for instance illegal abortion, pregnancy monitoring etc.


virus Zika, microcéphalie, santé maternelle, soins périnataux, biomédicalisation, représentations corps, santé publique, Public Health Emergency of International Concern (OMS), Brésil

Zone géographique
Amérique du Sud - Brésil

1er janvier 2017 au 31 décembre 2018

email : helenamprado chez