Author ORCID Identifier

Da Costa, Janaina Oliveira Pamplona: 0000-0002-7429-3438
De Campos, Andre Luiz Sica: 0000-0002-6801-0454
Rodriguez Medina, Leandro: 0000-0002-2303-9835

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Epidemics have traditionally been viewed as the widespread occurrence of infectious disease within a community, or a sudden increase above what is typical. But modern epidemics are both more and less than the diffusion of viral entities. We argue that epidemics are 'fire objects', using a term coined by Law and Singleton: They generate locative fears through encounters that focus attention on entities that are unknown or imprecisely known, transforming spaces and humans into indeterminate dangers, alternating appearance and absence. The Ebola epidemic of 2014 had more complex impacts than the number of infections would suggest. We employ multi-sited qualitative interviews to argue thatlocativefear is the essence of modern global epidemics. In the discussion we contrast Ebola with both the Zika epidemic that followed and the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Social Studies Of Science

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