Collective Action, COVID-19, and ‘Strategies of Engagement’

Policy brief

Reid-Henry, Simon & Audrey Kathleen Geissinger (2023) Collective Action, COVID-19, and ‘Strategies of Engagement’, PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.

When responding to large-scale crises that require society-wide collective action, governments use various strategies to encourage citizens to fulfill the duties assigned to them. Although governments may have the political and legal basis for demanding exceptional duties of their citizens, this alone cannot ensure compliance. Governments also need to mobilise their citizens to embrace the cause. In other words, examining the constraints on civic duty formation is insufficient; it is also necessary to explore how citizen cooperation and commitment to common causes is fostered. The COVID-19 pandemic provides a useful case study. In this policy brief, we highlight some of the ways that governments attempt to engage their citizens in large-scale, collective-action agendas and we draw lessons for the future.

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