Uprisings against public health policies such as vaccine and mask mandates during the late stages of the Covid-19 pandemic have brought to the forefront modernity’s tacit social contract with science and expertise. Focusing on the governance regime that I call “public health sovereignty,” I will explore the rules and practices of delegation that help explain why resistance has followed divergent paths across the 16 countries included in a Harvard-Cornell comparative study of national responses to Covid-19. The talk will also reflect on the method of comparison as a device for illuminating STS’s contributions to political and constitutional theory.
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