ARI HIRVONEN: Political epidemiology: Law and exception during the times of virus

The COVID-19 epidemic has hijacked our individual and social bodies as a risk of being infected. In this situation, we need a political epidemiology, which analyzes the effects of virus on society, subjects and bodies. The political epidemiology constructs a viruscritique, which analyses the state of things during the times of epidemic and brings forth how social and political life is subjugated to the emergency discourses and measures justified by the virus. The starting point of my critique is the concept of biosecurity that I define through Giorgio Agamben’s corona-themed texts. I will compare his arguments to those exceptional measures taken in four Member States of the EU. Even if democracy has not collapsed due to the state of emergency, there have been various reactions that are very problematic when it comes to democratic politics, the rule of law and human rights. A form of legislation normalizing the exception is developing in between the normal and the exceptional legislation. I will bring forth alternatives which proceed from the state of exception. On the background, Albert Camus’ Plague (1947) is being played in its non-contemporary contemporaneity.

ATTE HARJANNE, HELMI RÄISÄNEN, JUSSI T. ERONEN: Finnish pandemic policy as a viewpoint to climate crisis policy

The COVID-19 pandemic put Finnish decisionmaking to a new kind of test. For the first time the legislative structures prepared for severe societal crises had to be used in their current form. Crossadministrative national decision-making was mobilized for several months to combat the advancing epidemic and mitigate its effects on public health and the economy. Climate change and the loss of biodiversity also threaten the stability and favorable development of society. However, the accumulating scientific knowledge and the mainstreaming of these themes have not led to sharp reductions in emissions or brought the loss of biodiversity to a halt. This paper assesses the differences and intersections between the COVID-19 crisis and the climate crisis. The study consists of a case description based on the official documentation from the spring of 2020 and reflects upon the phenomena related to rapid and slow crises based on the previous literature. The conclusion is that decision-making structures that take better account of the nature of slow crises are needed.

ESSI OIKARINEN, HANNA KOSUNEN, TIINA HOTAKAINEN: Balancing between public space ideals during the pandemic in Helsinki and Vienna

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our perception of the ideal of lively public space. During the spring 2020, public spaces around the world turned empty, and municipalities applied different policies to steer activities. In this article, we aim to cover the balancing between lively, healthy and safe urban space as perceived through citizens perspective. We conduct two case studies in Vienna, Austria and Helsinki, Finland, where we analyse social media publications during the pandemic lockdown.

JOHANNA JÄRVINEN-TASSOPOULOS, VIRVE MARIONNEAU, TUULIA LERKKANEN: Gambling during the COVID-19 pandemic: experiences of risks and changes

 This study uses theories of risk society to examine how gamblers have experienced the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and what are the risks they have associated with the situation. The qualitative data was gathered by the University of Helsinki and EHYT ry. Results show that the reduced availability of gambling has limited total consumption, and the risk of gambling-related harms has therefore become less pressing during the pandemic. While gambling is also a public health risk in addition to being a harmful activity, the policy measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed that, at a societal level, the risk of infection was perceived as a more serious problem than the risk of gambling harms.



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