Research Topic

"Performing Control" of the Covid-19 Crisis

About this Research Topic

This Research Topic investigates responses to Covid-19 as performances of crisis control. The articles explore a transforming setting: locating the key nodal points and timeframes of national, state or municipal Covid-19 responses. The Covid-19 emergency provided a chance for “curbing in”; nationalism, ...

This Research Topic investigates responses to Covid-19 as performances of crisis control. The articles explore a transforming setting: locating the key nodal points and timeframes of national, state or municipal Covid-19 responses. The Covid-19 emergency provided a chance for “curbing in”; nationalism, regionalism or municipalism. It often included a contestation with a meta-level of governance (national, EU and international), national political opponents, or staging scapegoats. The transforming discursive landscape, the effects of “curbing in” and the limits of international collaboration is evidenced from government media strategies and social media analysis, practices considering regional variation, welfare system endurance and realities on the ground, international solidarity or cooperation, as well as Covid-19 - emergent loyalties.

The articles take as their object of study practices and representations of state, nation, government and leadership in the Covid-19 crisis by investigating: “performance of statehood”, or other relevance’s to “being in control”. They present a timeline of how the crisis emerged and analyse how it was managed: who was in control and how (and what that implied), and how was it communicated, with whom, and where. Covering roughly the first six months of the crisis, the articles investigate a tentative narrative of consensus, contestation and new political trajectories.

The shared methodological basis draws from a discourse theoretical or performative approach, as the papers recognise the role of articulation, rhetoric and practices, key nodal points and points of contest. The cases draw on mixed data; government communication samples, national broadcasters, relevant webpages, the main social media channel of the government head (e.g., the Prime Minister), and policy papers. Besides country cases, we include proposals that deal with cases on a municipal, metropolitan or state level. In addition to case studies, we welcome proposals for articles that take other approaches to the transformation and contestation of the Covid-19 - related discursive landscape and performance of control, and article proposals in other Frontiers formats.

The original case study research articles follow a specific structure and compatible methodologies. Hence, this Research Topic provides an overview in a comparative perspective, the timelines of Covid-19 spread and government action. A typical case chapter outline would include the Covid-19 response per country; a national timeline, with key moments. This would include basic knowledge of the Covid-19 stats, access to testing and health care, the spread of the virus, and the effect on the labour market and, potentially, welfare system. The analysis would rely on the identification of key nodal points such as; face masks, lock-downs, legislation, state of the exception, WHO and experts, key international comparisons, opposition-government relations, scapegoats of the Covid-19 spread, political humour and memes, and new speak and keywords. The narrative periodisation would include, typically; the moments of transformation into a local, national, or transnational problem, and consensus and contestation periods.


Keywords: Performing Control, Covid-19, Performance of Statehood, Statehood, Crisis Management, Discourse


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 December 2020 Manuscript
31 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 December 2020 Manuscript
31 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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