Flashbacks and flashforwards: epidemics and social change (intro)

Rafał Majka

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Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University

Justyna Struzik

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Jagiellonian University



The idea of this special issue emerged in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, which became a social and medical fact at the beginning of 2020. Although epidemics and pandemics differ profoundly – not only in terms of the strictly epidemiological or medical dimension of the disease outbreak but also with regards to social and political responses – they produce similar effects by intersecting with existing inequities, thus affecting various vulnerable populations and communities. In consequence, the disruptions they cause mobilise groups and individuals to seek recognition of their rights, fight for equal access to healthcare and stand up against discrimination and social exclusion. The last point became for us a point of departure to think about and conceptualize this special issue.