The COVID-19 Pandemic and Social Change: An Overview of Research Agendas

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During the last five to ten years, a considerable body of research has begun to explore how disasters catalyse social change. Even if the contributions to this research stem from a multitude of academic disciplines, we argue in the article, they constitute an identifiable and promising research agenda. Whereas vulnerability analysis explores the upstream causes of disaster, this new agenda focuses on the downstream consequences. In the genre of the meta-article, we suggest that this research agenda can by organized by help of the theoretical metaphors it uses. The overall metaphor—“disasters are catalyst”—can be subdivided into three different images of how disasters catalyse, respectively: “disasters are lessons,” “disasters are occasions,” and “disasters are perspectives.” By discussing three recent contributions (by the political scientist Thomas Birkland, the anthropologist Edward Simpson, and the cultural-political geographer Ben Anderson), we hope to inspire fellow researchers to pursue this emerging research agenda.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory and Society
ISSN0304-2421
Publication statusSubmitted - 24 Jun 2019

ID: 179088898