STEFANO CANALI & SAANA JUKOLA: The Challenge of Evidence-Based Policy for the Pandemic 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, debates about the role of science in supporting policy measures have been fierce. Some eminent commentators, for instance epidemiologist John Ioannidis, have criticised policies and mitigation measures and argued that they are not “evidence-based”. In this article, we analyse this claim in the light of recent philosophy of science. We show, first, that this criticism is based on ideals that originate from evidence-based medicine and, second, that the application of these ideals in the context of COVID-19 pandemic is problematic. We conclude by highlighting the importance of evaluating the assumptions underlying the collection and interpretation of data and evidence. 

TUUKKA BRUNILA & MATTIAS LEHTINEN: War on the Virus: on the Political Ontology of the Nation State during the Pandemic

In this article, we analyze the political ontology of the nation state in the context of the pandemic and consider how the virus has been made a part of it. Our argument is that the discourse regarding a war on the virus embodies an attempt to control the chronic insecurity and anxiety caused by the pandemic. Combining the work of Cornelius Castoriadis and the affect theoretical approach of Andreja Zevnik and Brian Massumi, we build a framework through which we make intelligible the foundational role played by historically constituted shared networks of meaning and the political ontology it creates, as well as the affects leaning on it in our reactions towards the pandemic. By analyzing Carl Schmitt’s understanding of politics we locate the political ontology framing the pandemic as an ontology of war. Through this we make visible how the management of insecurity through the distinction between friend and enemy becomes an affective channel for the insecurity caused by the pandemic.

EVELIINA HEINO & HANNA KARA: Received Social Support Described by Parents of Small Children During the COVID-19 Lockdown

This study examines received social support in the descriptions of parents with under-aged children during the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 in Finland. The empirical material (N=1296) was produced with a qualitative questionnaire distributed on social media. The analysis was carried out by using content analysis from the perspective of social support theory. During the state of emergency, social support arrangements became questioned as the availability of support was uncertain. The support provided by informal networks, mainly grandparents, became problematised. Concrete support included childcare, food care and financial support. Emotional support comprised of peer support, a caring attitude of the professionals, and the emotional meanings of concrete support. Emotional support created a sense of security and predictability and provided experiences of identification and caring. However, the expectations and demands associated with emotional support potentially led to moral negotiations around good parenting and the acceptability of receiving support.

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