Call for Papers: The State and the Covid Crisis

Special Issue in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society
Editors: Mia Gray, Michael Kitson, Linda Lobao, and Ron Martin

This Special Issue aims to address the big debates about whether and how the pandemic has changed the role of the state at the level of localities and regions. While the state’s role in some nations has clearly shifted dramatically, these changes remain influenced by earlier actions (the reduction in public sector spending, the weakening of regulatory authority, and the overall diversion of resources to the private sector) associated with the promotion of neoliberalism and austerity. To what degree has the response to the pandemic re-shaped the structure, remit, and processes of the state? In exploring the changed role of the post-Covid state, articles might address such questions as the following:

  • Where is the public sector growing and how does this shape the narrative around the state?
  • How has the response to the Covid pandemic been coordinated or abandoned at different levels of the state?
  • How has the balance of power between the central state and local state changed?
  • Has the power of the private sector decreased or increased?
  • How have states sought to balance the protection of their populations with the protection of their economies?
  • Will there be a permanent shift towards a more public health orientated mode of economic development?
  • What are the implications for the balance of class power and racial/ethnic inequality?
  • Articles may also explore state and politics across places. What does Covid imply for the state in terms of upholding or weakening democratic capitalism?

Overall, we are interested in the consequences of the Covid pandemic across localities and regions regarding the trajectory of the state under neo-liberalism. We are particularly interested in theoretical work that has strong empirical foundations. We are also looking for work that pushes existing frameworks in new directions and tackles new or unresolved issues about the state and the public sector. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society has previously published Special Issues addressing “The Shrinking State? Understanding the Assault on the Public Sector” (xi/3, 2018), “The Geographies of Austerity” (iv/3, November 2011) and “Austerity in the City” (vii/1, March 2014), available at, and will continue further push forward new directions in the analysis of the state in society.

Authors interested in publishing in the Special Issue should email an Abstract proposal of about 400 words to Francis Knights on by 1 August 2021, and full Papers invited from among those submissions will need to be received by January 1, 2022 for review and possible publication in the March 2023 issue. Submissions will be subject to the journal’s normal peer review process. Details of Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society’s publication process, evaluation criteria and house style are available at  The journal’s impact factor is 4.483.

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