A Centre for Democracy and Peace Research (CDPR) Webinar

Link to our recorded webinar

Meeting ID: 966 4940 1837/Password: 4bvfJZ



Populist and authoritarian regimes across the globe have been busy discrediting independent scientific inquiry and suppressing the production and dissemination of critical knowledge. Higher education and research funding institutions have demonstrated a lack of resilience against, and sometimes complicity with, rising authoritarianism. Then the Coronavirus struck, and science has been invited to the centre-stage to ‘guide’ the response to the pandemic. Is it time to celebrate a re-set in the relationship between science and politics, and between politics and truth? Or is it too soon to be jubilant?


This webinar aims to address these and several complementary questions that have been brought to the fore by the Covid-19 pandemic. The range of questions includes but not necessarily limited to the following: What is the scope for a re-set in the role of science in good governance during major emergencies? Has science guided the policy response to Covid-19, or has it been used by populist politicians to borrow credibility and increase their power? Do scientists speak up when politicians flout their scientific advice and why? How much trust can we have in the ‘science-led policy’ discourse? Can we expect a shift away from ‘science as narrow-interest advocacy’ towards ‘science for the collective good’?


In this webinar, three distinguished contributors will share their reflections on what we have learned about the tensions between science, truth, and politics during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Stephen Reicher, University of St Andrews (UK), is professor of social psychology working on issues such as group behaviour and individual-social relationships, social determination and social change, and political rhetoric and mass mobilisation, among others. He is currently a participant in the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) within the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in the UK. He is also a member of the Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group in Scotland. Professor Reicher and his colleagues (Jolanda Jetten and S. Alexander Haslam of the University of Queensland and Tegan Cruwys of the Australian National University) have just published a book titled: Together Apart: The Psychology of COVID-19. This book documents what they have observed over the past few months and demonstrates how insights from the social identity approach can contribute to public debate around the most significant world event of our lifetimes.

Professor Feride Aksu Tanık is professor of Public Health. She was dismissed from Ege University (Turkey) in 2017 – through a state of emergency decree – for signing the Academics for Peace declaration. After her dismissal, she has remained engaged in the production and dissemination of critical knowledge. She works on the right to health, social determinants of health, health inequalities, health policy, and professional autonomy. Recently she has been working on the securitization of pandemics. She is head of the Turkish Medical Association’s Ethics Committee, which has released a statement of ethics on disease outbreaks. She has assumed a wide range of responsibilities as a member of the Academy of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, as president of the International Association for Health Policies in Europe, and as a consultant for the Social and Medical Affairs Committee of the World Medical Association.

Dr Fernando Antônio Resende is Senior Lecturer and Research Co-ordinator (CNPq) in Media and Cultural Studies at Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF). Local Coordinator of Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate in “Cultural Studies in Literary Interzones” (EACEA), and the Joint Research Project “Literary Cultures of the Global South” (Universität Tübingen/DAAD). His work covers the theory and philosophy of communication, narratives of conflicts and diasporic movements, comparative media and documentary studies, and Global South theory. He also studies the impact of geopolitical discursive relations (narratives and conflicts) on the imaged geographies of East/West, including the imagination of Palestine and Africa by Brazil and England.

Chair:  Professor Mehmet Ugur, CDPR and University of Greenwich.

The contributions will be followed by a Q&A session.


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