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Governing the Pandemic

The Politics of Navigating a Mega-Crisis

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  • Open Access
  • © 2021

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  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access
  • Provides unique insights into how governments and governing systems have responded to the immense challenges of managing the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing disease COVID-19
  • Offers the building blocks of pathways to future resilience

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About this book

This open access book offers unique insights into how governments and governing systems, particularly in advanced economies, have responded to the immense challenges of managing the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing disease COVID-19. Written by three eminent scholars in the field of the politics and policy of crisis management, it offers a unique ‘bird’s eye’ view of the immense logistical and political challenges of addressing a worst-case scenario that would prove the ultimate stress test for societies, governments, governing institutions and political leaders. It examines how governments and governing systems have (i) made sense of emerging transboundary threats that have spilled across health, economic, political and social systems (ii) mobilised systems of governance and often fearful and sceptical citizens (iii) crafted narratives amid high uncertainty about the virus and its impact and (iv) are working towards closure and a return to ‘normal’ when things can never quite bethe same again. The book also offers the building blocks of pathways to future resilience. Succeeding and failing in all these realms is tied in with governance structures, experts, trust, leadership capabilities and political ideologies. The book appeals to anyone seeking to understand ‘what’s going on?’, but particularly academics and students across multiple disciplines, journalists, public officials, politicians, non-governmental organisations and citizen groups.

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Table of contents (6 chapters)


“This book is an incredible contribution, recounting how governments and stakeholders within different countries, managed the Covid-19 pandemic. It is suitable for both the general public as well as an academic audience. It is accessible and the readership can relate to the ‘story’ it tells. While the book is clearly focused on developed economies only, it would be good to include the impact of the virus in developing countries, in any further editions of the book.” (Miao Chen, Xin Xiao and Jia Wei1, European Political Science, Vol. 22 (3), 2023)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Political Science, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

    Arjen Boin

  • Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney, Darlington, Australia

    Allan McConnell

  • School of Governance, Utrecht University, Driebergen-Rijsenburg, The Netherlands

    Paul 't Hart

About the authors

Arjen Boin is Professor of Public Institutions and Governance, Institute of Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. He has published widely on topics of crisis and disaster management, leadership, institutional design and organizational issues. He is also a managing partner at Crisisplan BV and founding member of the European Societal Security Research Group.

Allan McConnell is Professor of Public Policy at the University of Sydney, Australia. He has published extensively on the politics of risk and crisis management, crisis exploitation, warning signs, contingency planning, policy success, policy failure and fiascos, policy evaluation, policy processes, wicked problems, hidden agendas, symbolic policies and policy inaction.

Paul ‘t Hart is Professor of Public Administration at Utrecht University School of Governance, the Netherland, and a core faculty member of the Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), Australia. His extensive publication record addresses issues such as successful public governance/policies, organisations and collaborations; political and public service leadership, and crisis politics and crisis governance.

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