The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep social and economic inequalities within and across countries which produce unequal COVID-19 outcomes. This is nothing new, as anthropologists have long documented the connections between socioeconomic inequalities and infections.

Anthropological and other social science work on epidemics has documented cultural and political-economic context, reframed community ‘resistance,’ bolstered community engagement in preparedness and response, and informed response activities. This empirical work proliferated after the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola epidemic.

However, social science research has not been systematically integrated into epidemic preparedness and response. While frameworks exist for integration, more can be done to synthesise recent empirical evidence and lessons from and for COVID-19 response and recovery.

This pandemic moment calls for synthesis of past empirical work on the anthropology of epidemics, new research in this burgeoning field, and lessons from and for COVID-19.

In this Anthropology in Action Special Issue, we seek to engage a global community of anthropology and other social science scholars with experience and ongoing research on epidemic preparedness and response.

This may range from methodological approaches to operationalising social science to articles on the political economy or other context of epidemic response. Potential contributors are encouraged to interpret these themes broadly, yet critically, including a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to a range of country settings.

The guest editors are particularly interested in lessons learned from past epidemics and COVID-19 with implications for epidemic preparedness and response.

Deadline and Submission Details

Please submit a short abstract (no more than 250 words) by March 22, 2021. Please submit abstracts via this Google Forms link.

Decisions will be sent by March 26. Please note, we would want to see a final draft of the paper (4,000-5,000 words) from accepted authors by May 31.

Please email Megan Schmidt-Sane ([email protected]) with any questions.

Guest Editors:

  • Megan Schmidt-Sane (Institute of Development Studies, UK and corresponding guest editor), [email protected]
  • Syed Abbas (Institute of Development Studies, UK)
  • Catherine Grant (Institute of Development Studies, UK)
  • Tabitha Hrynick (Institute of Development Studies, UK)
  • Santiago Ripoll (Institute of Development Studies, UK)