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Democracy in a Global Emergency

Five Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Afsoun Afsahi, Emily Beausoleil, Rikki Dean, Selen A. Ercan, and Jean-Paul Gagnon

governance have received little attention beyond a simplistic narrative of democratic erosion and authoritarian drift. Is COVID-19 an emergency for democracy, globally? And, what lessons does the pandemic hold for doing democratic governance in an emergency

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COVID and the Era of Emergencies

What Type of Freedom is at Stake?

Danielle Celermajer and Dalia Nassar

). This means that the conditions most likely to trigger the introduction of emergency measures will become more common. Second, it is well-documented that 40 years of neo-liberalism, as a form of politics, economics, and a cultural norm, have eroded

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Shaped by Shock

Staff on the Emergency Department 'Shop Floor'

Mark Powell, Stephanie Glendinning, Vanesa Castán Broto, Emma Dewberry, and Claire Walsh

In this article we consider the impact of shock in hospital emergency departments where people seek urgent medical care and access hospital services. We define shock as an unexpected event or set of circumstances, for although emergency departments plan for uncertainty, shock moments are when protocols and procedures fail to meet operational demands. We reveal how, depending on the professional experience and personality of staff, shocks are experienced and defined in a variety of ways. On some occasions shocks result in critical departmental failure, while at other times they generate new working practices. Shocks can empower individuals through celebrating teamwork and a sense of belonging, to take personal responsibility at a range of 'shop-floor' scales. These emotional and embodied engagements contribute to the operational resilience of the department.

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Bisan Salhi

This article first describes the unique place of emergency medicine (EM) within the American healthcare system. Second, it examines the uncertainty that underlies the practice of emergency medicine. It then describes how risk is perceived, negotiated and minimised by emergency physicians in their day-to-day practice. Finally, it explores how the management of medical risk is related to the establishment of trust within the physician–patient interaction and to the construction of the 'competent physician'. In caring for patients, the emergency physician must minimise risk and instil trust within a pressured, time-sensitive environment. Consequently, the management of risk and display of competence to patients are simultaneously accomplished by symbolic representations, the use of medical diagnostic tools in decision-making, and narrative construction within the clinical interaction.

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From Schmitt to Foucault

Inquiring the Relationship between Exception and Democracy

Sara Raimondi

Current academic debates and empirical evidence unveil an alarming portrait of the status of contemporary politics. Increasingly, we find ourselves entrapped in a variety of emergency measures that creep into the life of our liberal democracies, be

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The Rule of Difference

How Emergency Powers Prevent Palestinian Assimilation in Israel

Yoav Mehozay

This article argues that Israel's non-assimilationist policy toward Palestinians-what I term Israel's 'rule of difference'-is embedded in the state's security conception. Under the guise of protecting the state and its people, Israel has successfully achieved two essential prongs of this political objective. Dating from the 1948 War, the state has created a series of legal mechanisms that have enabled it to expropriate Palestinian land. Similarly, it has refused to allow Palestinian political associations that espouse nationalist views or challenge the Jewish character of the state to organize or run candidates, even if their programs are clearly non-violent. Ultimately, the state has effectively blocked Palestinians' ability to participate in shaping policy. Ensuring security has thus aided the state in preventing the assimilation of this group into society.

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Renata Lizzi

In Italy, the ‘mad cow’ emergency lasted precisely a year. It began

in November 2000 subsequent to the eruption of the crisis in

France1 and the measures announced by European authorities,

when the Italian government adopted a series of urgent health and

trade provisions. It ended in autumn 2001 when health controls

and market measures for the beef sector, as well as the opinions

of experts and scientists, gave credible guarantees on the safety

of meat and thus facilitated the recommencement of consumption

and the productive and commercial cycle of the sector.

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Thomas Hartmann

Why are recent attempts to give space to the rivers so unsuccessful? Floodplain management is a complex social process with many stakeholders, who pursue different rationalities before, during, and after floods. The resulting patterns of activities of the stakeholders have led to a technological lock-in. This article uses Cultural Theory to analyze the stakeholders' different framing of floodplain management. The concept of Large Areas for Temporary Emergency Retention (LATER) is then introduced as a way to create space for the rivers. Its implementation can be facilitated if the different rationalities, framing the patterns of activity in the floodplains are taken into account. Therefore, based on interviews with landowners, water managers, land use planners, and policymakers the rationalities are uncovered and different proposals for land policies are presented. The result is a land policy based on an obligatory insurance against natural hazards.

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Afterword

Relevance and Realities of Anthropological Critiques of Epidemiology

Ezra J. Barzilay

This invited comment, from a medical epidemiologist, discusses some of the relevance and the realities of selected anthropological critiques of epidemiology.

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Alberto Clò

In 2006, the energy question—and in particular the natural gas emergency

that will be discussed here—was brought to the attention of

public opinion, of political and economic debate, and of the electoral

contest. First, it needs to be made clear that on both sides, and within

the two coalitions, demagoguery prevailed over pragmatism. Similarly,

the propensity to demonize the proposals of opponents tended

to hold sway over attempts to contribute constructively to the discussion.

Thus, a game of mutual vetoes and false propositions took place,

characterized by erroneous diagnoses aimed solely at avoiding the

electoral costs that the required choices would have imposed. This

had the inevitable result of confusing public opinion, which should

be aware of the issue, and feeding the general “right of veto,” which,

since before the reform of Title V of the Constitution, has allowed

anyone to prevent others from doing anything—with the result that

nothing happens.