Unmasking the social policy responses of COVID-19 in four Southeast Asian nations : institutional patterns and policy adjustment

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation

Abstract

This article aimed to compare the social policy responses to COVID-19 in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand using an institutionalist‘s perspective. So, far, the crisis expanded social protection through temporary schemes, with rare reforms, and opened greater possibilities for future institutionalization of new policies. We argue that the COVID-19 policy responses must be viewed as an unfinished agenda of expansion-driven policy responses to the 1997–1998 financial crisis. Still, these are different sets of measures from the previous crisis, which has been characterized by minimal systemic changes. The variegated responses of countries reveal hitherto unexplored policy implications for the Southeast Asian region.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2022
EventHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference: Health and Wellbeing in (Post-) Pandemic Times - Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China
Duration: 3 Dec 20223 Dec 2022
Conference number: 23
https://www.ln.edu.hk/socsp/news-and-events/conferences

Conference

ConferenceHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryChina
CityHong Kong
Period3/12/223/12/22
OtherAs an unprecedented public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has become the focal concern of sociologists around the world. Globally, there have been over six hundred million confirmed cases, including over six million of deaths. Over the past few years, we have experienced the tremendous impacts brought by the pandemic on various domains of life. Apart from infected and death cases, we have seen a surge of mental health issues, suicides, domestic violence, as well as plummeting economic growth and escalating unemployment and poverty rates. Whether to embrace the “new normal” by easing public health and social distancing measures is a contentious issue as much among world leaders as ordinary citizens. From a sociological perspective, most impacts brought by the pandemic are believed to be structural and long lasting. As not everyone has equal access to vaccines, personal protective equipment, healthcare and other resources, health and social inequalities are expected to be worsening. There are also concerns about the lack of affordable childcare and technological equipment for attending online classes during pandemic times, which would have lingering effects on education, digital, and social inequalities across generations.

Against this background, this conference aims to address the pressing issues of health and wellbeing in pandemic and post-pandemic times from a sociological perspective. It provides a platform for scholars, students, and other stakeholders to discuss the implications of the pandemic for health and social inequalities among other issues. On that basis, participants will explore practical and policy responses to enhance health and wellbeing in the (post-)pandemic condition.
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