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Global Challenges
Special Issue no. 1 | June 2020
Politics of the Coronavirus Pandemic
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Articles for this issue
Global Challenges
Special Issue no. 1 | June 2020
Politics of the Coronavirus Pandemic

A pandemic is not just a medical emergency – it is also a political, economic, and social crisis. It implies new challenges for democratic institutions and practices, for citizenship rights and human rights as some of the restrictions on civil liberties put in place by liberal and illiberal democracies may well outlive the coronavirus. This special issue explores some tensions and dilemmas of democracies faced with the current crisis. “Politics of the Coronavirus Pandemics” addresses questions like: Can we speak of a decline in politics during the pandemic? While states have been using the full gamut of their sovereign prerogatives, has the political (temporarily) faded in the face of, for example, “expertise”? What will be the lasting impact of the rule by administrative fiat, and of emergency powers put in place in many countries? What kinds of agenda and instruments of civic activism are likely to emerge given that courts are rarely in session and public protest not permitted due to distancing rules? What are the likely consequences of these reconfigurations for democracy, governance, and welfare systems in the global South and North?

Articles for this issue

Politics of the Coronavirus Pandemic
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    Covid-19: A Modern Apocalypse or a Temporary Shock to the System?

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 1
     
    Stop coronavirus banner. Spartan shield, syringes and viruses. Vaccine development, combating the pandemic. COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) art. Protection of immune system. Medical background

    The Vaccine Race: Will Public Health Prevail over Geopolitics?

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 2
     

    Institutions under Stress: Covid-19, Anti-Internationalism and the Futures of Global Governance

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 3
     
    The Great Depression – Unemployed men queued outside a soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone.

    Covid-19 and Even More Unconventional Economic Policies

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 4
     

    Covid-19 and States of Emergency

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 5
     

    Pandemic as Revelation: What Does It Tell Us about People on the Move?

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 6
     

    Pandemic and Political Geographies

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 7
     
    “The Plague in Rome” by Jules Elie Delaunay, 1869.

    The Western Flu: The Coronavirus Pandemic as a Eurocentric Crisis

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 8
     

    A Gendered Perspective on the Pandemic

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 9
     

    A National-Liberal Virus

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 10
     

    Depoliticising through Expertise: The Politics of Modelling in the Governance of Covid-19

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 11
     
    Yayoi Kusama's “Infinity Mirror Room” in the Broad Museum, 8 August 2019, Los Angeles, California.

    The Politics of Covid Apps

    Reading time: 5 min
  • 12
     

    Human Rights and Covid-19

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 13
     

    Emergency Use of Public Funds: Implications for Democratic Governance

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 14
     

    Unequal Impacts of Covid-19: Political and Social Consequences

    Reading time: 6 min
  • 15
     

    Covid, Hysteresis, and the Future of Work

    Reading time: 4 min
  • 16
     

    Populism 4.0 and Decent Digiwork

    Reading time: 5 min
Other Issues
Issue no. 6 | November 2019
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Endangered Earth
Global Challenges
Issue no. 6 | November 2019
Endangered Earth

Soil is an essential component of the Earth's ecosystem. It contributes to and fulfills a wide range of environmental and societal functions such as food production, water filtering, carbon storage and the preservation of biodiversity essential to the survival of the human species. While soils have witnessed significant environmental degradation in recent decades, lands have been the object of increased economic competition and financial speculation. The commercial and financial scramble for land has never been more intense as transnational actors and governments such as the Chinese seek large scale bids for land in the Global South that have been likened to new forms of neocolonialism. The consequences of this double tension include the loss of biodiversity, floods, climate change, famines, forced migration and conflict. 

It is the assumption of the present Dossier that issues such as large scale exploitation of land and natural resources, soil degradation, biodiversity, food security and climate change are closely interdependent and cannot be treated in isolation. Seeking to explore and better understand the interlinkages between the material degradation of soils and the increased extractive, commercial and speculative pressure on lands, the Dossier aims to address some of the broader stakes the Anthropocene is currently facing: How irreversible is the damage that has been caused to earth's soils? Have we reached a point of no return? How many people is the earth able to feed and for how long? Are we trapped in a Malthusian logic? How will climate change depend and interact with changing patterns of soil distribution and depletion? What is the impact of large scale deforestation and natural resource extraction on the environment, particularly the soils? What are the governance patterns and technological solutions emerging to address land depletion and scarcity? What are some of the cybernetic loops and mechanisms of autoregulation through which the earth reacts to human interference? 

Issue no. 9 | March 2021
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The Moving Fault Lines of Inequality
Global Challenges
Issue no. 9 | March 2021
The Moving Fault Lines of Inequality

While poverty has been diminishing in absolute terms and relative income has been growing on a global scale for over two centuries, inequality – as measured by instruments such as the Gini coefficient – has been increasing steadily since the early 1980s. With the financial crisis of 2007, the growing digitalisation of the economy and the current pandemic, global inequality has further worsened, seeing the fortunes of the superrich attaining unprecedented levels and revenue concentrating in the top percentiles of societies.

Concurrently to the aggravation of the social fracture, additional fault lines have been opening or hardening along logics of race, gender, ethnicity and religion. Identarian revendications and logics of difference and exclusion have come to complement, compete with or supersede more traditional struggles for equality in a postmodern and neoliberal context that has normalised inequality, homogenised societies and done away with earlier grand narratives and collective agendas. 

The consequences of inequality(ies) are dramatic, as reflected in the polarisation and fragmentation of societies, worsening health and mortality indicators, political tensions and violence, a decline in democracy, and mistrust in state institutions. The objective of the current issue of Global Challenges is therefore – by reverting to the analytical tools of social science – to reflect on the causes behind the multifaceted growth of inequality(ies), anticipate their noxious fallouts and explore potential remedies.