Several Justice Everywhere authors have been involved in a book project about the ethics and politics of COVID-19. The volume, Political Philosophy in a Pandemic: Routes to a More Just Future (Bloomsbury 2021), is a collection of 20 essays covering five main themes: (1) social welfare and vulnerability; (2) economic justice; (3) democratic relations; (4) speech and (mis)information; and (5) the relationship between crisis and justice.
The second of three chapter previews that we’re releasing in the run up to the book’s publication next week comes from Adam Swift, who contributed a chapter to the final theme on the relationship between crisis and justice. His chapter, Pandemic as Political Theory, takes a step back to consider what the COVID-19 crisis reveals about the nature of politics and political theory in general.
Swift suggests that the pandemic has, in large part, simply provided more vivid evidence of something we already knew – that we live in societies where people are subject to unjust laws made in unjust ways. But, slightly more optimistically, Swift considers the possibility that the pandemic might function as a wake-up call, alerting us to just how bad things have become and giving us evidence that big changes are politically possible. For that reason, he speculates, it may prove to be more effective in altering societal values than political theorists have managed to be.
Swift was a guest on the UCL Uncovering Politics podcast recently, talking primarily about his work on the principles of education policy. Here’s a short clip from the end of the discussion, in which he talks about his chapter, Pandemic as Political Theory:
You can also check out the book in more detail via this widget, which includes the Table of Contents, Foreword by Onora O’Neill, and Introduction to the volume by Aveek Bhattacharya and Fay Niker.