Author:Elisa Pieri (University of Manchester)
Paper short abstract:
The paper is based on research investigating the social impacts of pandemic preparedness. It calls for an examination of the values and priorities inbuilt in current preparedness strategies, developed within policy and practitioner networks, and for a move towards participatory crisis governance.
Paper long abstract:
The risk of new global pandemics has become a pressing concern in the West. Emergent pandemic emergencies are discussed amongst scientists working in various medical fields - from immunology to virology, epidemiology and veterinary research. Pandemic threat and the planning towards its mitigation feature increasingly in policy strategy at various levels. Under the aegis of the WHO, most nations have drafted plans to mitigate pandemic risk, and are part of global networks for infectious disease surveillance and response.
My paper integrates findings from a three-year fellowship project, including interviews with a range of pandemic preparedness experts, a debate with lay members of the public and an analysis of plans and strategies diffused by various organisations. Pandemic emergencies produce complex socio-cultural-material entanglements and in this paper I discuss the values and priorities inbuilt in current preparedness strategies, and the (often unintended) social impacts resulting from the measure adopted during previous pandemics.
Through my findings I argue for the involvement of members of the public, alongside other stakeholders, in a debate over the planning, the setting of priorities and, for example, the principles that may guide the allocation of scarce resources. Only through inclusive and sustained public engagement can we ensure that preparedness planning and the decisions taken in the event of a pandemic emergency are socially robust - procedurally fair and equitable, transparent and open to redress.
Disasters and participation: inventive/disruptive encounters