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The Covid Leviathan in Italy

Kevin Bardosh sits down with Cristiano Cadagnone, professor of sociology at the University of Milan, to discuss his recent book, The Leviathan with the Feet of Clay. The book, written in Italian and published in February 2024, concentrates on the harms of Covid policies, the rhetoric of fear, and the ideology of scientism. We discuss Prof. Cadagnone’s work during the pandemic and academic and media receptivity to his ideas in the broader context of the Italian state response. Finally, we touch on the upcoming Italian Covid Inquiry and what lessons he thinks have been learnt, and not learnt, for future emergency response in Italy.


Check out our conversation.

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About Cristiano Codagnone

Cristiano Codagnone is part-time Research Professor and Researcher at Università degli studi di Milano (Department of Social and Political Sciences) and Director of the research company Open Evidence. In the course of his professional career he has also served as civil servant at the United Nations (2003-2004) and at the European Union (2009-2011; 2015-2016). In 2014 he has been Visiting Senior Research Fellow alla London School of Economics. He has published extensively on many topics related to the interaction between scientific evidence and policies. In 2020 he designed and directed a longitudinal panel research on the effects of Covid-19 and lockdown on mental health in Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. As a result of this research, he published several articles in scientific journals, among which: Codagnone, C., et al (2020). Assessing concerns for the economic consequence of the COVID-19 response and mental health problems associated with economic vulnerability and negative economic shock in Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. PloS one, 15(10), e0240876. Codagnone, C., et al. (2021). Restarting “Normal” Life after Covid-19 and the Lockdown: Evidence from Spain, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Social Indicators Research. 158–265. He is co-author of the book Il Leviatano dai piedi d’argilla. Il disastro Covid-19 tra retorica della paura e scientismo (The Leviathan with feet of clay. The Covid-19 disaster between fear rhetoric and scientism) a sustained critique based on extensive scientific sources of how the pandemic was mismanaged by most governments.

Follow Cristiano Codagnone on X (formerly Twitter) @ccodag

About Kevin Bardosh

Kevin Bardosh is the Director of Collateral Global, a UK-based charity dedicated to researching the global impacts of Covid-19 policy responses and helping the world better balance societal trade-offs during future health emergencies. He has worked in more than 20 countries on infectious disease control programs (including Ebola and Zika), authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and edited two books. He is currently an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, University of Washington USA and an Honorary Lecturer at the Edinburgh Medical School, University of Edinburgh UK.

Follow Kevin Bardosh on X (formerly Twitter) @KevinBardosh

Follow Collateral Global on Twitter @collateralglbl

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