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Issue 12 | 2020

I. COVID-19 and Communication Crisis Management

Marco Lombardi, Communication Crisis: COVID-19. Nothing since Chernobyl

The pandemic from COVID-19 generated a health emergency and at the same time a communicative crisis. In fact, many of the fundamental aspects of crisis communication and crisis management have not been considered and implemented. In particular, this reflection aims to pay attention to four fundamental premises to interpret what is happening: hybrid warfare; network society; the lesson learned from Chernobyl; crisis management and specific skills. These premises will be declined in their characteristic aspects in order to arrive at a final consideration that plans to start over, taking into account the principles of crisis communication and crisis management

Communication crisis; covid – 19; crisis Management; crisis narratives; crisis scenario

II. Empirical Research – COVID-19 and Viral Violence – International Converge Project

Barbara Lucini, Foreword. COVID-19 and Viral Violence: state of the art and beyond

Maria Alvanou, Safety vs. Security during the COVID-19 pandemici

The concepts of safety and security, although often considered the same, they are actually different. The main difference refers to human intent behind the behavior that causes the threat or the damaging event. Health crises, like the one posed by COVID-19, constitute a threat against safety and make it imperative for states to take protective measures. Already the experience of managing the security threat of terrorism after 9/11 showed how state policies there can have serious impact on societies. The article deals with the impact safety policies to combat the pandemic can have to the security of people and especially vulnerable groups. Security challenges against the life and freedoms of citizens are presented with examples from different places around the world and in relevance to safeguarding democracy. Finally, the notion of public safety and security as an alibi for measures that shrink the rights and liberties of the individual is seen in a critical way.

COVID-19, safety, security, threat, democracy

Giovanni Gugg, The tower is burning. Real and symbolic violence between technophobics and techno-rebels of 5G technology during the COVID-19 pandemic

During a disaster, the spatial and social points of reference are lost, so it is usual that we can fall into an individual and collective disorientation, which is then processed and reabsorbed in various ways, including the attribution of responsibility. Through the ‘process of blaming’ the disaster community goes in search of the causes of the calamity and identifies a responsible person/entity, generally outside their sphere or in some dissimilar and unaligned internal exponent. But what happens when the scale of a disaster is planetary and all human beings are involved in it? We are experiencing this with the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a global health disaster that, in cascade, becomes an economic, psychological and social disaster. In particular, during the lockdown imposed in numerous Europeans countries between winter and spring 2020, a theory has grown according to which the new coronavirus is somehow linked to 5G technology. This has had various repercussions in street demonstrations by pandemic skeptics and technophobics during the summer and, in some more rare cases, in forms of vandalism towards telecommunications towers. The paper investigates this phenomenon through the perspective and tools of cultural anthropology.

COVID-19 pandemic, 5G technology, Conspiracy theories, Vandalism, Skeptics

Barbara Lucini, Extremisms, viral violence and pandemic: Fusion Extreme Right and future perspectives

This article aims to present the results of the research activities carried out in the framework of Converge – COVID-19 Working Group – Itstime Working Group: COVID-19 and Viral Violence.
The research focused on key questions aimed at exploring, understanding and interpreting how the current pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus can influence the activities of various forms of extremism.
In addition, a deepening of extreme right and its many expressions is proposed, given its peculiarity and importance as a global threat.
The research activities were conducted according to a mixed methodological approach, using as methodological tools, an online investigative survey and an open source-based digital ethnography.
The analysis of these researches has produced significant findings, to better understand and interpret the threat posed by the extreme right in various parts of the world and in the context of the current pandemic.
Finally, new relationships between concepts lead to the definition of fusion extreme right to generally identify the phenomena related to extreme right as well as the issue of symbolic violence.

Extreme Right, extremisms; Fusion extreme right; Symbolic violence; Viral violence, pandemic


Laris Gaiser, The consequences of COVID-19 on the geo-economic capacities of the People’s Republic of China

Today, the People’s Republic of China represents one of the most important geopolitical players in the world. It was able to rise to this position thanks to the co-optation, in an anti-Soviet approach, carried out in the 1970s by the United States. At the end of the Cold War, Beijing opted for a development policy that would lead it to excel in the economic, diplomatic, and military sectors to assume its status as a world power. In this way, the Chinese Communist regime has challenged the strategic logic that teaches that it is important to shy away from the pursuit of a simultaneous advancement of power in these three sectors, on pain of creating excessive friction with other states. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated this competition and is leading the antagonistic states to reduce Beijing’s capacity for economic influence, as well as exploiting the evident repercussions to production capacity brought about by the outbreak of the pandemic.

China, COVID-19, geo-economy, strategy, crisis

Giovanni Pisapia, 2020 Was a Bad Year – Review of Homicide and Gun-Violence Data from Selected Major US Cities

This article has been drafted with the aim of better understanding the recent spike in homicides recorded in the first six months of 2020 in several major US cities. The objective is to build knowledge and provide a picture of the change in crime trends in four analyzed cities: Atlanta (GA), Chicago (IL), New York City (NY) and Philadelphia (PA).
This article will not delve into the identification of effective and appropriate solutions to violence, grounded in criminological best practices. Instead, it tries to provide a picture of the recent spike in homicides through an analysis of official crime data, which includes police activity and victim/offender demographics. The article is based on public data, published by each of the four local police departments, made available through their web sites.
The analysis tries to discern the extent, and the possible causes, of the impact of COVID-19 related-lockdowns and protests against police on recorded crimes in these four cities.

Crime trend; homicide USA; Gun-Violence

Szilveszter Póczik – Eszter Sarik – Orsqlya Bolyky, The impact of the Covid-pandemic on violence and some other forms of crime in Hungary

The current study shows the results of the first research conducted by the Covid Working Group established at the National Institute of Criminology (OKRI/NIC) in Budapest in September 2020. The examination was performed in the form of a desk-research on the criminological aspects of the Covid-epidemic, the results of which are presented in the situation-report. The recent report also serves as a draft for an extensive research planned for 2021. From the outcome of the analysis, it can undoubtedly be concluded that the Covid-pandemic has brought about certain structural changes and new phenomena have also emerged in the field of crime. We could also experience these new tendencies in Hungary. Although in Hungary, unlike in the Western European countries, there were not any violent protest movements and the general number of violent acts seemed to decrease during the epidemic, new forms of hatred appeared, citizens bought more weapons and there was a growth in domestic violence acts, too. The epidemic has strengthened communication in the online space and thus provided an opportunity for cybercrime and the related fraud and counterfeiting, while some new forms of fraud have also begun to spread offline. The Hungarian government considered it necessary to introduce special legal rules to protect the health of citizens and to prevent the dissemination of fake news. The study also details these legal measures. The examination of the six months of the epidemic period only allowed us to discover some new phenomena, but did not provide an opportunity to obtain interpretable data. This will be the task of the future research.

Russia, cultural diplomacy, international relations

Marco Maiolino, Geopolitics of information, aids and vaccines make sense in the framework of COVID-19 and Hybrid conflicts

This short contribution begins by discussing COVID-19 and the evolution of conflicts. Then, the two phenomena are put together and combined in today’s networked, diverse and non-linear, reality which, it is argued, makes them intelligible and provides a synthesis.
The geopolitics of information, aid and vaccines is presented and supported consistent with the framework outlined above; finally, it is noticed the need for a more effective understanding and management of contemporary reality and its risks and threats.

Keywords: COVID-19, hybrid conflicts, risk analysis, geopolitics.


Federico Lunardi, COVID Pandemic: Some Free Thoughts

Filippo Nativi, COVID-19. Behind the Disease

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