• Pandemic or Infodemic? 2020, the Year of ‘Fake News’?

    The information paradox dictates that as news sources multiply and information becomes overabundant, the more likely it is for exaggerated, implausible and untruthful stories to gain traction. The pandemic aside, it is the ‘infodemic’ we should now be fighting? Over the last 12 months, conspiracy theories have not only become a main mode of communication […]

  • The Pandemic X Brexit: A World with Hard Borders?

    As we see the imposition of hard borders within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the first time since the Acts of Union in 1707, the cosmopolitan dream of a world without borders appears to be slipping away. The European Union, once an organization eager to push for the dismantling of […]

  • To the Moon and Back: Summing up the ISR/EHU Covid-19 Blog

    When we had the idea to ISR blog in the week after lockdown in late March, we could not have imagined that it would have such resonance. Since the start of April we have had nearly 50 posts, charting our immediate response as an academic community to a once in a 100-year event. In receiving, […]

  • Epidemics: A View from Italy

    Italy’s first two cases of the coronavirus pandemic were confirmed on 30 January 2020 by the Istituto Spallanzani which specializes in infectious diseases, the first research centre in Europe in fact to isolate the genomic sequence of COVID-19. The patients were a couple of Chinese tourists, both of whom had recovered by 26 February. Just […]

  • Pandemics, Prohibition and the Past: COVID-19 in Historical Perspective

    The Coronavirus epidemic may be without precedent in living memory, but global pandemics are nothing new. In the sixth century AD the ‘Plague of Justinian’, an outbreak of bubonic plague, killed around 25 million people in Europe and Asia. The best known pandemic, the ‘Black Death’ of 1348-9, is thought to have killed up to […]

  • Constructing a ‘New Normal’: What Changes when it’s all over?

    What will life be like once ‘normality’ returns? Without needing to resort to crystal-ball gazing, it is obvious that whatever normality emerges, it will be a form of a ‘new normal’. We will be required to negotiate radically altered public health and economic conditions, as well as new complex emotional geographies. So here, I want […]

  • The Road to Nowhere? Tourism after Covid-19

    We don’t have to look far to see that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism has been both enormous and catastrophic.  All resorts, hotels, restaurants, campsites and visitor attractions are closed, and there are few flights. Tourism as we know it has totally ground to a halt.   How will tourism recover?  This […]

  • Images in the Head; the Pervasiveness of Dreaming in Isolation

    It’s day something of the lockdown and I’m surrounded by images that I don’t understand. There’s an image of a pizza that’s trying to kill me, it’s on the main news three times a day, as if on repeat. Nobody is quite sure where it came from or where it’s going. There are lots of […]

  • Blitzed by Myths: The ‘Spirit’ of the Blitz and COVID-19

    In the current climate, particularly today, on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and the current Prime Minister’s penchant for Churchillian rhetoric, it is perhaps inevitable that people are drawing parallels with the Second World War, the ‘Dunkirk Spirit’, the ‘Britain can take it’ response to the German ‘Blitz’, and so on. Clearly, there are […]

  • Temporary or Fixed? Changing Business Models in a Global Pandemic

    From lack of hand sanitiser to toilet paper, cargo stuck in ports, crops unpicked in fields and a work force relocated to their homes; organisations and consumers are adopting new approaches to deal with these shortages. With amazing flexibility and agility some firms have shifted their business models, invested in people and processes, explored new […]

  • Wither Fake News: COVID-19 and its Impact on Journalism

    The current pandemic has reproposed, this time with more acuity than ever, key questions for the media and journalism. First, the current crisis has reconfirmed that our reality is indeed substantially shaped by media. We live in an era of deep mediatization, as researchers call it (see Andreas Hepp’s Deep Mediatization book published in 2019, […]

  • COVID-19: Lockdown when you are Locked Up

    The onset of COVID-19 has made an impact on every aspect of our society. But one group in particular is facing real difficulties in coping with the crisis, a group so often ignored by society, and that is people in prison. It is shocking that reportedly up to 60% of prisoners could become infected with […]

  • Who Needs Society? Authoritarianism and COVID-19

    The Wall Street Journal recently suggested that ‘western democracies’ should look to Eastern Europe to how it contained the COVID-19 pandemic. With some Eastern European countries first ignoring or diminishing the COVID-19 threat (Russia) or asserting the benefits of ‘alternative’ therapies such as the encouragement of steam baths, eating garlic, and drinking Vodka – the […]

  • Pandemic, Press Conference and Performance: What future for the politician’s ‘Direct Address’?

    27/04/2020. London, United Kingdom. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a statement outside 10 Downing Street, as he returns to work following recovering from Coronavirus at Chequers. Picture by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street. © Crown copyright I decided not to watch the coronavirus press conference the other day.  I heard the names […]