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Local Governments and the Meanings of Social Distancing: Implementation Deficiencies in the Times of COVID-19


Year published: 2022
Categories: Book Chapter
URL Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-91112-6_24

Author / Authors:

  • Paulo Nascimento Neto


First Online: 04 May 2022
Part of the Local and Urban Governance book series (LUG)


The worldwide spread of COVID-19 has had different degrees of impact in different countries and continents. Alongside extensive challenges in terms of public health services, the year 2020 was marked by the establishment of quarantines and recurrent suspension of non-essential activities, together with a broad campaign for individual protection measures. These measures, also known as non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), form a fundamental part of the strategy for combating the virus. In Brazil, the Federal Constitution classifies this issue as one of the common jurisdictions, that is to say, the three federal bodies can determine actions and strategies. This highlights the traditional dilemmas of federalism, which in this case have particular nuances in the face of the denial stance of the Brazilian president, taking the issue to the Brazilian Supreme Court. From this viewpoint the Brazilian case appears particularly relevant to the investigation, enabling better understanding of the approach of local governments’ adoption of NPIs. This study therefore aims to investigate the concept and strategies of legitimising social distancing policies, using Curitiba – PR as a case study. This provides two dimensions of interest: (i) on the one hand, the shaping of social distancing towards its functional operability, and (ii) on the other hand, how these definitions acquire legitimacy (or not) on a local scale. Underlying these topics is a broader discussion of the role of ideas in the formulation of public policies that closely involve the role of scientific knowledge in the construction of narratives and decision-making.

Cite this chapter
Nascimento Neto, P. (2022). Local Governments and the Meanings of Social Distancing: Implementation Deficiencies in the Times of COVID-19. In: Nunes Silva, C. (eds) Local Government and the COVID-19 Pandemic. Local and Urban Governance. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-91112-6_24


  • Book Chapter