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Accepted Paper:

Temporalities of Covid-19 responses: how time influences balancing public values and responsibilities within decision-making  
sabrina rahmawan-huizenga (Faculty of Social Sciences) Hester van de Bovenkamp (Erasmus University Rotterdam) Roland Bal (Erasmus University Rotterdam) Lieke Oldenhof (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Paper short abstract:

In governing Covid-19 different temporalities are at play with important consequences for public values in decision-making and shared responsibility within layered governance. The dominant flash time-logic makes different values seem irreconcilable and prevents intelligent sharing of responsibility.

Paper long abstract:

This paper describes the results of an anthropological study of decision-making within the Covid-19 crisis, in one ‘safety region’ – the organization responsible for crises and disaster control – in an urban region in the Netherlands. The first author conducted non-participatory observations of crisis-meetings starting March 2020 and proceeding to this day, as well as interviews with key actors. Being fully embedded gives us the unique opportunity to see how Covid-19 crisis management unfolds.

We highlight that in the regional governance of the Covid-19 crisis different temporalities are at play. We identify a dominant flash time-logic which is the logic of firefighting, of acting now with limited knowledge. In addition, a holistic time-logic in which there is space for nuance and validation of knowledge plays a marginal role. These different temporalities have important consequences for the public values that feature in decision-making. We show how the dominant temporality of a flash time-logic prioritizes safety as the most important value, moving other values such as (public) accountability, democracy and social-economic values to the background. Moreover, the time logics also impact the way responsibility is shared within the layered governance arrangement in which the security region operates. The dominant use of a flash time-logic makes different public values seem irreconcilable and prevents an intelligent sharing of responsibility. As Covid-19 is here to stay with us for a longer time we propose a shift towards the holistic time logic in order to move towards adaptive governance with room for balancing different public values.

Panel Irre10a
Temporality and (ir)responsibility within crises I
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -