Author: Onur Ozgode

Hurlbut moderates session on the “lab leak” hypothesis at STS Summer School

J. Benjamin Hurlbut moderated a panel that discussed the hypothesis that the SARS-CoV-2 virus escaped from a Wuhan biology laboratory. The session featured a mix of STS scholars, science writers, and participants in the controversy. Key issues included whether debate about the lab leak hypothesis had been prematurely brought to closure and whether it merited being reopened.

Eisenberger, Boucz, and colleagues present on “COVID-19 and the Rule of Law in New Zealand and Austria” at ICONS Mundo Conference

At the International Society for Public Law, Austria team members Iris Eisenberger and Thomas Boucz presented their research on Austria’s and New Zealand’s pandemic responses and judicial review systems. They examined how the lockdowns were communicated and challenged in the courts. The authors discussed what having judicial review of government communications means for upholding the rule of law in the face of crisis. More information here.

Olofsson reviews Legal Rules in a Crisis (2020) in Sociologisk Forskning

Tobias Oloffson of the Sweden team published a review of Legal Rules in a Crisis by Johan Hirschfeldt and Olof Petersson. The book asks what kind of democratic decision-making a crisis requires and how it differs from “peace-time” political processes. Olofsson’s review emphasized that pandemics necessitate overriding the slow decision-making processes in favor of swift crisis management.

Jasanoff brings CompCoRe insights to conversation about climate change with Ezra Klein in New York Times Magazine

Ezra Klein interviewed Sheila Jasanoff and three other experts about what it will take to generate sustainable climate policy nationally and internationally. Jasanoff drew on CompCoRe findings to illustrate that crisis preparedness does not necessarily result in better outcomes, and urged politicians and analysts to pay closer attention to global inequality and distribution of responsibility when considering climate change policies.

Hilgartner discusses CompCoRe at the 2021 InSciTS conference

At the annual International Science of Team Science conference, Hilgartner spoke on the Social Complexities of COVID-19 through the Lens of International Research Collaborations. He summarized key CompCoRe findings and discussed the conditions that made this complex international team research possible.  

Jasanoff and Hilgarner reflect on early CompCoRe findings on Verfassungsblog

Sheila Jasanoff and Stephen Hilgartner, CompCoRe co-PIs, wrote a post about the politics of pandemic responses in Verfassungsblog, an internationally-oriented blog addressing constitutional law and politics. They presented CompCoRe findings and offered an analysis of why some countries were able to enact restrictive public health policies and others were not. In considering such differences, they argued that “the analytic starting point for understanding the phenomenon of trust has to be within national political systems and not in the technocratic domains of either health or economic expertise.” Politicians should examine their national processes for integrating scientific and political consensus-building in order to determine crisis response policies, the authors urged in their conclusion.

Rao publishes article about Covid response decentralization in Bangalore

Bhargavi Rao of the India team published a critique of India’s centralized approach to responding to Covid-19. Her commentary commended the state government of Karnataka for finally realizing that a pandemic cannot be fought top down and for proposing a decentralised approach at the ward level in Bengaluru.

Saldanha and Rao condemn Bangalore’s plan to bury pandemic dead in landfill

In a press release, Leo Saldanha and Bhargavi Rao, both members of the India team and founders of Environment Support Group (ESG), called on officials to reconsider its plan to use a landfill to cremate and bury the bodies of Covid-19 victims. Saldanha and Rao challenged the government’s claim that two disaster management acts allow it to use the landfill as a crematorium, and demanded a more suitable and dignified solution.  
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