Session 6: The Global Political Economy of COVID-19 Pandemic: The Impact on and Responses from Civil Society and International Community

The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered visible the contradictions of global capitalism, with some arguing that we face a crisis of capitalism more so than a crisis of public health. Capitalism, as a system framed by a profit-centered ideology, cannot effectively respond to pandemics, which often require immediate responses, putting human needs first, before profits. Others further argue that the pandemic has been used by rising authoritarian regimes to impose policies that limit or infringe on the political and social rights of civil society. Many also point out that the absence of an international structure for cooperation among nations and regions has weakened responses to the pandemic, as viruses do not respect national boundaries. Thus COVID-19 has become more than a health pandemic, in that it has become a global social, political and economic crisis, under which reliance on responses from states, allied to corporate interests, seem fatalistic.

In the absence of reliable state response, what other responses have emerged from sources like civil society, movement organizations, non-governmental organizations, indigenous groups, poor communities, sectoral organizations (such as workers), professional organizations, women’s organizations, international organizations, mutual aid communities, and other groups?  What lessons/insights can be learned from their experiences that can be useful in designing long-term strategic plans to create a structure for an internationally coordinated response to pandemics, including addressing long-term impacts and aftermath?

This session welcomes abstracts of presentations/reflections from scholars, scholar activists, activists, NGO workers, social justice advocates and researchers from various countries or various contexts.

Session organizers: Ligaya Lindio McGovern, Indiana University (USA), lmcgover@iuk.edu & Alan Spector, Purdue University Northwest Indiana (USA), aspector2020@gmail.com

This session is part of “Reimagining Our Worlds from Below: Transnational Conversations on Resistance, Movements and Transformations – A Free Virtual SSSP Global Outreach Conference,” May 18-21, 2022, organized by the Society for the Study of Social Problems and co-hosted by the EJ/CJ digital hub of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at UCSB (USA). Please send your proposal for an individual contribution to the corresponding session organizer(s) by March 20, 2022. Your response to the call for a themed session should entail a title plus an abstract of 250 to 350 words. Please add a brief biographical note.