Author(s): Evan Lieberman 

Status/Format: Published

Date: 2020

Publication Type: Report

Publisher: Social Science Research Council

Risk for “Us,” or for “Them”? The Comparative Politics of Diversity and Responses to AIDS and Covid-19



In his essay for the “Covid-19 and the Social Sciences” series, Evan Lieberman writes about the influence of social diversity on the politics of infectious disease control. How does the articulation of ethnic, racial, and national boundaries impede effective policy responses? Using the AIDS crisis as a comparative case-study, Lieberman asks if data that emphasize ethnic, racial, and national categories—while they may be intended to highlight and mitigate disparities—have the potential to stigmatize vulnerable groups during a pandemic. He calls on social science to investigate how such categories influence risk perceptions, citizen behaviors, and government responses.