Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Covid, Simmel and the Future of Cities

One particular loss in the present emergency is Georg Simmel’s discussion of the case for cities, in his 1902 essay ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’…it presents crucial arguments against the break-up of urban life that is envisioned by some contemporary Utopians: the case against the 15-minute city needs to be heard… Simmel composed this lecture… Read More »

Medical Imperialism and the Fate of Christmas

No English government has tried to regulate the people’s Christmas since 1655 and 1656 – and that did not go well. After the English Civil War, the country was divided into regions administered by Major-Generals – religious zealots who thought Christmas should be a time for sobriety and reflection rather than joy and celebration. Their… Read More »

We must learn to live with the virus – just like Samuel Pepys lived with the Great Plague

Humans have lived with infectious diseases for at least 15,000 years. Many of these are shared with animals. They infect us, we infect them and, from time to time, there is a new crossover, as with Covid-19…. Humanity has a long history of dealing with these things. What history shows us is that the only… Read More »

The Coffin Cure: Why Vaccine Regulation Matters

Sociologists of Science and Technology take science fiction very seriously. Although it is often dismissed as a cheap literary form, it represents an important way in which contemporary societies try to think about and shape their futures. In this respect, it stands alongside more ‘respectable’ literary forms like modelling or scenario planning. Science fiction emerges… Read More »

Patrician policymaking

…policies have been made by people with very narrow life experiences and imposed on others with whom there is ‘no intercourse and no sympathy’…This indifference is as true of our scientific and medical elites as of our politicians and public servants. Although STEM disciplines have traditional been ladders of social mobility, we are seeing the… Read More »

Is Covid-19 a disease?

Let us first understand that ‘disease’, ‘illness’ and ‘infection’ are not categories that are given to us by nature. They are human moral judgements about the undesirability of the impact of certain microorganisms on ourselves, and a few favoured plant and animal species that are particularly relevant to us. Most of the sciences that study… Read More »

Now online – The debate around face coverings for the public during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous effects on health, wellbeing, and economies worldwide. Governments have responded with rapid and sometimes radical public health interventions. As nations grapple with the question of how to regain normality without unnecessarily endangering lives or healthcare systems, some scientists have argued for policies to encourage or compel the use of… Read More »

Could we live with a ‘second influenza’?

Somewhere along the line we have lost a sense of proportion about the Covid-19 pandemic. At the beginning, we were rightly concerned that a novel virus, to which human populations had never been exposed, might represent an existential threat to our species. This justified rapid, and often poorly-evidenced, actions to interrupt transmission of the infection.… Read More »