Populism, pestilence and plague in the time of Coronavirus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Essex

Abstract

Purpose: To explore right wing populist government responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach: A narrative overview of right-wing populist policies and strategies which is loosely structured around fascistic themes set out in Albert Camus’ allegorical novel, The Plague.

Findings: Although individual responses to the coronavirus pandemic among right-wing populists differ, they appear to coalesce around four central themes: initial denial and then mismanagement of the pandemic; the disease being framed as primarily an economic rather than a public health crisis; a contempt for scientific and professional expertise; and the ‘othering’ of marginal groups for political ends. Populist responses to the pandemic have given rise to increased levels of xenophobia, the violation of human rights and the denigration of scientific expertise.

Research limitations: This is a narrative overview from a personal viewpoint.

Originality: Drawing on themes in Camus' novel The Plague, this is a personal perspective on right wing populist government responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Populist responses to the pandemic have given rise to increased levels of intolerance and xenophobia and the violation of human rights and civil liberties.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare
Early online date4 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19, coronavirus, right wing populism, fascism, racism, human rights, Camus