01 January 2021
pandemic; public health; social control; law and politics; administrative law; separation of powers; max weber;talcott parsons; paradigms; knowledge and interests; jürgen habermas; giorgio agamben; history of medicine
The COVID-19 pandemic has once again brought into relief and tension the delicate balancing act modern governments must strike in assuring individual liberties of its citizens, while at the same time dealing with infectious diseases and other public health risks. It is not clear how best to strike this balance, or how to judge which countries are doing an adequate job and which others are failing (on either or both fronts). What is clear, however, is that by virtue of it being available to the state, public health is based not merely on medical expertise but also on power, insofar as it part of the regulative apparatus of the administrative state which can be implemented by decree at the behest of the executive.