Asian Studies Research Seminar with Paul O'Shea
- Covid19 and National Exceptionalism in Sweden and Japan
In this seminar I present a work-in-progress paper comparing the national exceptionalist rhetoric in Sweden and Japan. I find that Japanese exceptionalism was 'classic exceptionalism', insofar as the rhetoric highlighted particular elements of Japanese culture meaning that the Japanese approach would only work in Japan, and not in other countries. Swedish exceptionalism was a more 'paradoxical' kind. On the one hand the Swedish response was rooted in the 'folkvett' (common sense) and self-responsibility of the Swedish people, while on the other Sweden was the only country in Europe led by science rather than politics. The Swedish approach was the scientifically correct one, and the rest of the world could learn from it.
These cases highlight the dangers of associating pandemic response with national exceptionalism. While it may help in mobilisation, it can also lead to policy inertia - the failure to change course in tandem with shifts in the scientific consensus and best practice.
Paul O'Shea is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Centre for East and South East Asian Studies.
About the event
26 January 2021 13:00 to 14:00
Zoom. Registration requried.
karin [dot] zackari [at] ace [dot] lu [dot] se