Global Discourse
An interdisciplinary journal of current affairs

Fear, pathogens and political order

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  • 1 King’s College London, UK
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I distinguish fear from fright and explore the role of both in the COVID-19 pandemic. I argue that fear generates strong public demands for protection and that these pressures can constrain or enable leaders depending on the circumstances, capabilities, but above all, their framing of the problem. I focus more on countries that performed badly because their leaders failed to gather or evaluate relevant information. To explain this behaviour I draw on motivational psychology and political ideology. My accounts are merely suggestive as they are not the result of data gathered from carefully paired and exhaustively researched cases. I conclude by offering reflections on four of the six propositions offered by the editors in their introduction.

  • 1 King’s College London, UK

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