January 20th SSHM Seminar with Clare Herrick “The Post-2015 landscape: vested interests, corporate social responsibility and public health advocacy”

We are delighted to announce our first SSHM Seminar in 2016 with Dr. Clare Herrick (Department of Geography, King’s College London). Clare will present her latest work on “The Post-2015 landscape: vested interests, corporate social responsibility and public health advocacy”.

The Seminar will place on Wednesday 20 January from 13:00-14:30 in Room K.6.63, King’s Building, Strand Campus, King’s College London.

We hope that many of you can join us!

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Abstract: The paper explores the tension that has emerged between the United Nations’ and the World Health Organisation’s stance on private sector involvement in the Post-2015 global health landscape. This tension – with the UN strongly advocating the need for private sector inclusion as part of their ‘corporate sustainability’ endeavours and WHO putting forward a much more ambiguous position – has, the paper argues, galvanised new forms of public health advocacy especially in relation to those ‘harm industries’ that have vested interests in perpetuating and encouraging the risk behaviours for the global chronic disease burden. In turn, the narratives of corporate sustainability promulgated by the UN have produced new spaces of opportunity for the strategic elision of the CSR activates of otherwise contentious industries with the priorities and language of the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Drawing on the example of the ardent public health advocacy now circulating around the activities of the alcohol industry and its involvement at WHO; the paper draws on a particularly contentious example of CSR activity – SABMiller’s Tavern Intervention Programme in South Africa – to explore not only how CSR has emerged as a new battleground in competing visions of ‘who owns public health’, but also for claims to scientific knowledge and moral authority. While there is now a significant corpus of anti-corporate work within public health, there has been little critical reflection on the significance and limits to such a perspective for the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda in general and for the alcohol control movement in particular. This then further entrenches the faultlines between the ideologies of the anti-corporate public health movement, on the one hand, and that of the alcohol industry on the other.

Clare Herrick is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at King’s College London. She earned a first class BA (Hons) in Geography from the University of Cambridge in 2002. She then completed her MA in Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2004 where her research focused on agricultural biotechnology, food politics and the construction of consumption risks. In 2007, she completed her PhD at University College London comparing the rationale and means of governing obesity as both a biomedical and discursive epidemic in London and Austin, Texas. In September 2007, Clare took up the position of lecturer in Human Geography in the Cities Group at King’s. In 2012, Clare was appointed Senior Lecturer in Human Geography. You can check out her blog: Alcohol, Development and Poverty in South Africa 

For more information about our SSHM Seminar Series, please visit:http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/sshm/research/RSS.aspx

For recordings of selected seminars, please visit: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/sshm/research/Research-Labs/RSS-Recordings.aspx

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