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Mosquito Trails"Ecology, Health, and the Politics of Entanglement"$
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Alex M. Nading

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520282612

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520282612.001.0001

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Stories of Surveillance and Participation

Stories of Surveillance and Participation

(p.143) Five Stories of Surveillance and Participation
Mosquito Trails

Alex M. Nading

University of California Press

This chapter features accounts of a series of dengue prevention projects in Ciudad Sandino to show how the techniques of epidemiology and public health were entangled with those of Nicaraguan street politics. I explore how community health workers and others operationalized two technical/political concepts in the course of routine dengue control. First, I show how the logics of public health “surveillance” dovetailed with those of political surveillance. Second, I trace the changing meaning of “participation” in the context of the return of Daniel Ortega and the Frente Sandinista to political power in 2007, showing again how the seemingly neutral concept of community engagement, perennially popular in global dengue policy, took on particular political meanings in Ciudad Sandino. The routines of science and politics were certainly not in lockstep. One was concerned with gathering data: discrete points of information about the worlds of people and mosquitoes. The other was concerned with manipulating well-known stories. Yet for health workers, particularly those at the most intimate levels of the health ministry’s organization, success in public health depended upon an entanglement of scientific and political practices, of blending data collection with storytelling.

Keywords:   public health, Sandinistas, participatory democracy, epidemiology, global health, surveillance, nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, narrative

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