Viral Economies: Farming Bird Flu in Vietnam

Viral Economies: Farming Bird Flu in Vietnam

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Venue: 
Deakin Room, Founder’s Building, St Antony’s College
Speaker(s): 
Natalie Porter (Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford)
Chair: 
Dr Matthew Walton
Convenor: 
Dr Matthew Walton
Series: 
Southeast Asia Seminar

Recent outbreaks of swine flu, SARS and avian influenza are provoking innovative global health efforts to control diseases transmitted between species. In Southeast Asia, much of this effort centers on poultry economies, where new forms of production, circulation, and exchange are cohering around viruses and their management. Drawing on ethnographic research in Vietnam, this presentation explores how individuals navigate avian flu interventions in policymaking arenas and poultry producing communities. It reveals that pandemic flu strategies confront heterogeneous moral codes, in which animals play a dynamic role in Vietnamese knowledge hierarchies, village economies, and estimations of individual worth. This research suggests that avian flu both circumscribes and expands possibilities for regulating and valuing life in communities of humans coexisting with animals.