Special Issue "Understanding Policy Dynamics of COVID-19 in the EU and the Rest of the World: Challenges, Reactions, and Perspectives after One Year"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Contemporary Politics and Society".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Juan Carlos Martin Hernandez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Tourism and Economic Sustainable Development, Department of Applied Economic Analysis, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35001 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
Interests: transport economics; accessibility; service quality; tourism and transport; demand analysis
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic is shaping citizen trust in institutions at different jurisdictions, from the local to the regional, national, and supranational. The disease caused by the coronavirus has put stress on national healthcare systems globally and has fundamentally changed every aspect of our lives compared to pre-pandemic times. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global emergency on 30 January 30 2020, and the “flatten the curve” measure was highlighted as the main policy to prevent healthcare system collapse. Thus, national governments were obliged to close their borders, restrict travel, and control economic activity not deemed essential. Unavoidably, in 2020 the world faced an unparalleled economic crisis and recession, which harmed the poor and vulnerable the most. The fight against extreme poverty suffered the first reversal after decades of steady progress in reducing it (The World Bank, 2020).

Countries around the world imposed different measures to contain the pandemic, and unfamiliar concepts in the past such as lockdowns, mask mandates, social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine, and wash your hands more frequently have become part of our common vocabulary. The containment of the pandemic spread is still a challenge to many countries that are facing a second or third wave, and the trade-off between health and the economy seems to be unresolved. COVID-19 affected citizens' lives very differently. In cases where citizens knew someone who died because of the disease or were very concerned about their health or the health of a closed relative, they might see that the benefits associated with the control of deaths outweigh the economic loss associated with the more restrictive measures. Similarly, personal positions around being in favor of limiting individual rights or civil liberties, as well as the use of tracking apps to control the potential spread to citizens who have been in contact with the virus can determine the support or not to some of the measures taken by national or regional governments. Jurisdictions of the states or the regions vs. nations or supranational entities, such as the EU, regarding the role of governance to control the spread of the pandemic is also an interesting factor to analyze.

Given the extraordinary period we are living, it is paramount that policy makers and social scientist can research how citizens and collective groups are responding to the pandemic. There are a number of topics within the social context that can be selected, as pandemic control measures require a significant change in social behavior that is affected by multiple factors, such as social norms, social inequality, culture, and polarization. The contributors to this volume will address the following research questions:

  1. What are the main anti-COVID measures taken by distinct countries? Are there any lessons that can be extracted?
  2. What are the main factors that affect citizen support towards the measures taken?
  3. Can the recovery plans alleviate the expected extreme poverty increases?
  4. Is the accelerated economic downturn diminishing institutional trust?
  5. How is the pandemic affecting the migratory crises? Are nations' residents changing their opinions and behaviors towards migrants?
  6. What can we learn from the current pandemic with respect to national health care systems?
  7. Can the public/private debate (neo-liberalism) polarize more the society?
  8. Do populist parties take advantage of the causes of the current pandemic?
  9. Does the pandemic increase EU skepticism, or, contrarily, can it be seen as a good opportunity for more federalist integration (more EU solutions to the crisis)? Can this be extended to other supra-national institutions like the WHO?
  10.  Do citizens have more distrust of democratic systems because of the political management of the crisis?
  11. Are social welfare policies in jeopardy? Are high-income citizens ready to pay more taxes?
  12.  Will citizens prefer more authoritarian or technocratic forms of government?
  13. Does the current pandemic change the industrial globalization process? Are western citizens prepared for medical and pharmaceutical supply shortages because most of the industry was externalized to developing countries like India and China?
  14. Can the hospitality and travel industry bounce back sooner than later if the vaccines are effective?
  15. What are the main social changes observed in citizens’ lives due more time being spent at home?
  16. Does the current pandemic foster e-health, working from home, e-commerce, and other e-services?
  17. Is there any gender issues exacerbated by the pandemic?
  18. Is the pandemic a good opportunity to include climate action in the recovery agenda to make the planet more sustainable?
  19. Which parts of the world are more vulnerable to reversals from democratic systems to authoritarian systems?
  20. So far, are citizens satisfied with the leadership, information, and transparency of the current governments? In terms of citizen participation, is there much room for social governance?

Prof. Dr. Juan Martín
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • national anti-COVID-19 measures
  • citizen support
  • COVID-19 and governance
  • COVID-19 and institutional trust
  • individual and collective behavior
  • political polarization
  • health benefits vs. economic damage
  • social inequality

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

Article
Physical Health of Food Consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(6), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10060218 - 09 Jun 2021
Viewed by 970
Abstract
The present research aims to analyze the habits observed in the perception of the general physical health condition of Portuguese food consumers in the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigation is focused on indicators such as weight, physical activity, and consumption habits through the adoption [...] Read more.
The present research aims to analyze the habits observed in the perception of the general physical health condition of Portuguese food consumers in the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigation is focused on indicators such as weight, physical activity, and consumption habits through the adoption of healthy and not healthy food. Centered on a quantitative approach, the research is based on the application of a questionnaire to a sample of 741 Portuguese consumers, between November 2020 and February 2021, a period during which the most severe measures of social isolation were imposed by the Portuguese government, since the beginning of the pandemic. Moreover, the questionnaire was applied to consumers over 18 years old. According to this population, and considering a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of 4%, the sample has a minimum of 601 responses. Being so, the results of this research are representative for the Portuguese food consumers. The theoretical model was estimated using Partial Least Squares (PLS) in the Smart PLS 3.0 software. The obtained results allowed us to conclude that the Portuguese perception of their weight did not change in the pandemic, despite showing that in general, the pandemic had a negative impact on their physical condition. On the other hand, the results show that the Portuguese associate the practice of physical exercise with physical well-being. Respondents also confirm a positive relationship between “positive eating behaviors (such as consumption of fruits and vegetables, low saturated foods and rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats” and water consumption) and “the perception of physical health in general”. On the contrary, respondents’ perception of the choice of negative eating behaviors (measured by the consumption of products with a high content of salt and sugar, snacks, and processed frozen and pre-cooked foods) have a negative impact on the “assessment of physical health, in the COVID-19 pandemic”. Hence, it was concluded that the Portuguese consider that an eventual increase in weight does not necessarily correspond to a perception of worse physical health; the practice of physical exercise and good eating habits corresponds to a perception of better physical health; the adoption of bad eating habits corresponds to the perception of bad physical health. Full article
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