COVID-19: Emergency planning, Emergency powers and tactics against repression in a State of Exception

  • Thu 27 Jan 22

    16:00 - 17:15

  • Online

    Register via Zoom

  • Event speaker


  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Centre for Criminology

  • Event organiser

    Sociology, Department of

  • Contact details

    Dr Anna Di-Ronco

Join the Centre for Criminology for an insightful webinar on COVID-19.


Lucy Easthope: University of Durham

The Denial of the Plan and its implications for a ‘whole society’ disaster response in the UK C19 Pandemic

The UK had a robust ‘contingencies’ assessment framework for assessing and mitigating risk. But as soon as the most likely and predicted, assessed and trained for risk, a pandemic, hit UK shores so much of what we had worked to was forgotten. Both planners and the plans disappeared from public view, leaving society with a pervasive and dangerous myth that there had been no consideration of their needs in extremis. As a seasoned emergency planner Professor Easthope will briefly explore this phenomenon and what is next for the UK when managing and responding to catastrophic events.

Rhiannon Firth: University College London

Tactics against Repression and Co-optation of Mutual Aid

This talk draws on 7 years' research into Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, including interviews with activists involved with Occupy Sandy in New York, and COVID-19 Mutual Aid groups in London. The talk will introduce some of the political theories underlying state policies which have both explicitly and implicitly attempted to repress, deradicalize and co-opt mutual aid movements. It will consider some of the ways in which movements and activists have been co-opted, for example through becoming regulated and bureaucratized as official NGOs, by embracing middle class moral panics, and by failing to resist creeping social authoritarianism. It will also consider ways in which some groups have successfully resisted co-optation and de-radicalization.

 Dr Robert Freudenthal: Barnet Enfield Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust

Dr Gemma Ahearne: University of Liverpool


The Health/Power/Criminality-nexus in the state of exception

The positioning of the ‘other’ as a dangerous vector of disease is a long-standing trope. This has existed both in racial terms, such as the 1905 Aliens Act, and for others positioned as on the outliers of society, such as sex workers, under the Contagious Diseases Acts of 1864, 1866, 1869.  The public health system, whilst forming a foundational part of the welfare state, has also long been used as a system of control, both as a perpetrator of racial injustice and by forming part of the carceral state.  Injustice, surveillance, and even mass detention, that is enacted within a health systems framework is rarely given the same critical focus as other systems of power, such as the criminal justice system.  Meanwhile hyper-specialisation of academic work, policy makers, and clinicians, each seemingly unaware of other perspectives of understanding societal structures, perhaps have contributed to a culture which has permitted the invocation of legal structures to enforce particular understanding of health and behaviour onto others.  This talk, co-delivered by an academic criminologist and a psychiatrist, will explore different ways of understanding the pandemic, which might guide our responses in the future. 


Chaired by: Professor John Preston and Dr Anna Di-Ronco


This seminar is part of an online open seminar series, hosted by the Centre for Criminology.



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