Contra [Martha] Nussbaum, fear can be rational and, contra [Zygmunt] Bauman, borne of knowledge, rather than ignorance. [Sara] Ahmed helps us see that structural inequality, which has only been exacerbated by the clusters of crises and poorly managed responses in recent years, means that fear is experienced unequally during pandemic. But what she fails to grasp is the qualified importance of fear politically; effective responses to COVID-19 may simultaneously require specific groups to experience ever greater fear of disease while at the same time being aware that efforts to achieve that may actually be self-defeating. (Degerman et al, 2020: 17)
Our conclusion was that, as a consequence, there was space for new scholarship on the politics of fear. This issue is the most substantive iteration of that work.