This talk is based on Dr. Pieri's research investigating pandemic preparedness and its social aspects (2016-19) and draws on her new book Pandemics (2021). In this talk, she will discuss how drawing on sociological knowledge, alongside medical and other knowledges already mobilised in pandemic planning, may contribute to securing socially resilient and robust solutions under conditions of radical uncertainty. She makes the case for moving towards participatory crisis governance and for broadening landscapes of participation before and during pandemics.
The current outbreak of COVID-19 is a stark reminder of our permanent exposure to risk of pandemic outbreaks. To prepare and respond more effectively to pandemics we need to put in place mechanisms for decision making that are procedurally fair, inclusive of all relevant knowledge (notably, sociological and social science knowledge, alongside medical knowledge and other logistic and command-and-control expertise) and involve an all-of-society approach. Understanding and studying societal and ethical impacts of pandemic preparedness and response are key contributors to achieving better and more socially robust mitigation. Pandemic measures have unequal impacts on different groups of people, and different groups of people need to be involved in debating (including ahead of an outbreak) and co-shaping the mitigation strategies to be deployed.
Dr Elisa Pieri is a Lecturer at the University of Manchester, where she has been conducting research on Securing Cities Against Global Pandemics (Simon Fellowship Award 2016-2019). Her work focuses on security, governance of radical uncertainty, science and technology studies and the urban.