[P6403] From Disease to Disaster? The Social Consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic in the MENA Region

Created by Holger Albrecht
Thursday, 12/02/21 11:30 am


The Middle East and North Africa region is no stranger to disaster. And yet, most of the crises in the past have originated in man-made political conflict dynamics, including wars, insurgencies, authoritarian repression, and economic decline. The social and economic challenges emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic are different in that they present a stress test for the capacities of societies and states to deal with a health crisis perhaps similar to natural disasters more common in other parts of the world. This panel explores the immediate social and economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic across several Middle Eastern countries, namely Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia. Panel contributions reach beyond previous accounts that have predominantly analyzed government responses to the health crisis. They go one step further in that they unpack the immediate fall-out of the pandemic for the social and economic conditions of citizens in these countries.
The four papers draw on original survey material—including nationally representative opinion polls conducted in Egypt, Tunisia, and Lebanon along with an online survey from Turkey and a business survey from Egypt. In systematic analyses using quantitative methods, papers present a coherent body of works analyzing state-society relations during health crises from both perspectives: people’s responses to government action, but also people’s expectations in what state authorities and societal networks are expected to do to contain the health crisis. One paper frames these dynamics as an integral part of the changing social contract in the MENA region; a second paper deploys webcam data to trace compliance with Covid-19 induced restrictions in Turkey; a third paper uses the results from a survey in Tunisia and Lebanon to determine whether citizens in these countries resort to state authorities or social networks in response to social end economic hardship; and a final paper explores the immediate fall-out of the health crisis for the Egyptian business community.
With the pandemic being a moving target, the panel’s contributions offer a first systematic analysis of its short- and medium-term consequences and speak to an interdisciplinary audience of sociologists, political scientists, economists, and policy makers in the region.





Holger Albrecht

(University of Alabama)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Kevin Koehler

(Leiden University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Markus Loewe

(German Development Institute (DIE))
Markus Loewe is research team leader at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, where he has been working since 1999. He studied economics, political science and Arabic in Tübingen, Erlangen and Damascus...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Amirah El-Haddad

(German Development Institute and Cairo University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;