PANDEMICS AND INSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES IN THE CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY
The analysis of social and political consequences of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemics brought with it a huge number of challenges. Certainly, one of the largest one is the fact that this field is mainly studied from medical and economic perspective, while political and sociological aspects are set in the background. The second problem of our analysis is that it is happening in the moment when is currently happening right before our eyes. This makes any kind of analysis from the aspects of political and social science difficult, because there are no many studies on which we can rely on. This is why the main goal of this paper is to provide us general political and social framework for understanding coronavirus pandemic, without any kind of tendency to provide any kind of final answers. The first part of the paper deals with global preparedness for pandemics, while the second part analyse institutional challenges in the health sector. The numerous processes which characterized contemporary society ultimately have led to the fact that there are no more problems which can have only local consequences. Every local crisis can very fast become a global problem. This is especially important in the field of natural disaster, pandemics, global warming, pollution, security, poverty etc. The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the unwillingness of international organizations, and the international community in general, to face with coronavirus pandemic with some kind of global coordinated action. With all these mentioned we emphasis that there are three main lessons which we must be learned from coronavirus pandemic. The first lesson is that there were many signs in the past that some kind of global pandemic will happen in the near future. One of the main reasons why we did not recognize those signs is that large industries did not see the profit in dealing with preventive measures. The second lesson is that there were no reliable studies which can estimate global capacities for dealing with consequences of global pandemic. Because of that many states faced with this pandemic unprepared. The third lesson of the coronavirus pandemic, which is perhaps the most important one, is the lack of global cooperation and solidarity. The pandemic provoked a chaotic response of individual countries which were guided primarily by their own national interests. There were any kind of visible role of international organizations to organize a joint response on a global level, which would certainly be much more effective.
Hybrid Civic Activism as a Tool for Building Social Inclusion
Modern democracies around the world are threatened by growing political populism and intolerance. This fact is prominent especially in the Balkan region, where the effect of violent ethnic conflict is still present. Empirical data from this region registered low level of political engagement, high ethnic stereotyping and distance toward non-majority groups. We examined the effects of activism in real and virtual worlds on social distance toward minority groups, and how it is mediated by belief in a just world, political interest, political anomie and cynicism. We employed analysis of national representative survey data on adult citizens, collected through face to face method in Serbia in 2017 (N=1258). Survey design has been used to investigate the extent to which common forms of online/offline civic activity mediated by different psychological constructs foster offline forms of social inclusion of marginal groups. Results confirmed that both online and offline activities can have a positive effect on social inclusion in real world by reducing political anomie and cynicism and belief in a just world, and increasing political interest. This research highlights the importance of fostering different types of civic activism because the impact of political engagement in the real and even more in the virtual world leads to a reduction of social distance toward minority groups in reality. Data suggested that broadening platforms for civic engagement could be an effective strategy in building social inclusion.