Governance, democracy and ethics in crisis-decision-making

The pandemic and beyond

Editors:
Caroline Redhead
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Melanie Smallman
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In Governance, Democracy and Ethics in Crisis-decision-making, we reflect on what it means to govern ethically in a pandemic. We explore what it means to be in a situation in which rational or epistemic framings of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on data and scientific ways of knowing the world, rub up against the way people experienced the pandemic, as an unexpected, and often harmful, event in their own lives. The book brings together findings from The Pandemic and Beyond research projects linked by a focus on how decisions have been made, but looking at the pandemic from very different perspectives. In their exploration of decision-making processes from the everyday to the global, the contributors consider whether and how values have featured in decision-making, and sometimes why they have not. Exploring issues ranging from the authority of the World Health Organization and the power of data during an emergency, to the role of public engagement as a source of policy evidence, contributors consider whether (and how) the expected standards and norms of public life and decision-making should be different in times of crisis. We also reflect that the pandemic seems impossible to disentangle from matters of trust in power and authority. The answers to the questions discussed in this book will be vital in reviewing our experiences of emergency decision-making. As we emerge from the pandemic, the essential lessons drawn out in this book should direct and constrain future decision-makers in both ordinary times and extraordinary emergencies.

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