People: Mehroosh Tak, Barbara Haesler, Ayona Silva-Fletcher

Co-Investigators: Dr Mehroosh Tak, Dr Sara Stevano (SOAS), Professor Tony Barnett, Dr Barbara Haesler, Professor Ayona Silva-Fletcher.

Research Assistant: Mr Adam Willman (SOAS)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has clearly exposed the critical need to consider disease spread through interdisciplinary approaches. This project will develop a new short-course on understanding and researching AMR and infectious diseases using lessons from political economy to be launched in the spring term of 2021. Political economy analyses ways in which economic, social, cultural and political factors determine individual and community behaviours. This includes considering how political choices, institutional structures and forms of governance influence economic phenomena and how the existing economic and governance structures are reflective of ‘deeper’ determinants, such as colonial settlement, political clientelism, physical geography and natural resource endowments, the disease ecology of societies, and social differentiation among other factors.

An understanding of these issues as they relate to infectious diseases and AMR is, therefore, necessary for any meaningful research into how the above-mentioned economic and political phenomena interact within communities. Methods in political economy provide vital insights into proposing better public policies and interventions. This course will train interdisciplinary doctoral and early career researchers working in the areas of AMR and infectious diseases in relation to animal-human disease interaction space to utilise the tools, theories and methods from political economy in order to critically examine and improve their current and future research. This course will focus on issues relating to low and middle-income countries (LMICs) with topics covered including:

  1. Socio-economic, political and cultural intersections of AMR and infectious diseases and the social sciences
  2. Power dynamics in local and global markets and value chains
  3. Governance and regulatory influences within the agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors
  4. Issues relating to smallholder livelihoods and land tenure
  5. Feminist economics issues relating to challenges arising from AMR and infectious diseases
  6. Political economy research methods.

Each of the above themes will include discussions on their theoretical and empirical advantages as well as their ability to allow participants to analyse critically past, current and future research projects in order to better fill existing knowledge gaps and improve public policy through interdisciplinary frameworks.

Entry Requirement: The course is constructed for interdisciplinary doctoral students and early career researchers. Previous knowledge of economics is not required to participate. Researchers with an interest in exploring economic, social and political relationships that govern related AMR and infectious disease spread will be prioritised.

Time Commitment: This is a free course but requires time commitment between February and April 2021. The online course will take place over a period of 6 weeks during February and March 2021 and is expected to require between 3-6 hours (tbc) study time per week. An online or in-person workshop at RVC Hawkshead Campus (travel restriction permitting) in March/April 2021 will provide space for participants to share and reflect on their ongoing work and in course assessment. Should the workshop take place in person, funds may be required to travel for the workshop. Bursaries will be available for participants from the global South.

Although, the course is tailored for doctoral students and early career researchers, all interested participants are encouraged to get in touch via the interest form.

If you have additional questions, please contact Dr Mehroosh Tak (mtak@rvc.ac.uk) or Mr Adam Willman (665772@soas.ac.uk).

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