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National identities in global health: Kenya's vaccine diplomacy during the Covid-19 pandemic

Harrington, John ORCID: and Ngira, David 2023. National identities in global health: Kenya's vaccine diplomacy during the Covid-19 pandemic. African Affairs 122 (488) , pp. 377-401. 10.1093/afraf/adad015

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How do national identities matter in global health? Our paper addresses this question through a study of Kenya’s vaccine diplomacy during COVID-19. It combines critical perspectives, challenging the neglect of African agency in international relations (IR), with constructivist approaches highlighting the importance of discourse in the exercise of agency. Their insight that identity is an important resource in the realization of foreign policy goals is confirmed by our review of interventions by senior Kenyan leaders, as well as ministries and official bodies, concerned with vaccine procurement during the pandemic. This material shows moreover that identity is not pre-given, but rather performed in discourse, being adapted and renewed in speeches, briefings, policy documents and so on. Our study shows moreover that identities are plural, not singular, and that they draw on historic and cultural resources proper to individual states. This allows us to link the range of identities performed during COVID-19 to earlier moments in Kenya’s diplomatic history, noting the continued pertinence of its image, variously, as ‘an island of stability’, ‘a good global health citizen’, ‘a member of the pan-African community of states’ and ‘an active contributor to IR’.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0001-9909
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 May 2023
Date of Acceptance: 5 June 2023
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2023 14:26

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