Isacco Turina

Consenting to the emergency. On the redefinition of social order at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Covid-19, Italy, state of emergency, social order, public consensus

In March 2020, during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Italy was the first Western country to enforce nation-wide restrictions on travels and gatherings in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus. This step was a sudden, dramatic shift from the liberal tradition of post-war politics. Despite the heavy burden it imposed upon individuals, families and businesses, the lockdown – which in its harshest form lasted for over two months – was applied with considerable smoothness, arousing only limited protest. Our analysis focuses on those cultural and institutional dimensions that might explain the unforeseen development of the state of emergency, particularly its strictness and the wide consensus that sustained it. We will examine five factors: 1) previous expectations about the «next pandemic»; 2) contingent, structural and political circumstances that played a part in shaping the crisis; 3) the rise of a plurality of moral, technical and political understandings of the pandemic that circulated in the media, helping people take stock of a traumatic event; 4) the crucial role of digital technologies in the implementation of restrictions; 5) the normative overload that bound everyday life in lockdown, fostering social cohesion and temporarily impeding anomy

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