Chapter 11 Emergent agency in a time of Covid
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The scale and nature of Covid has shocked the world into new responses, with government, organisations, and businesses adapting to challenging conditions. People have acted en masse at local levels by sharing, organizing, and protesting. This chapter takes stock of how individuals, groups and grassroots organizations have responded among low-income, excluded communities around the world. Drawing on literature reviews, in-country research, and thematic conversations on topics ranging from social movements to peace-building, we describe the patterns of emergent agency shown by these efforts. The creative disruption has shown new ways of working, new relationships and new organisations. But the research also highlighted the widespread exhaustion and stress among civil society. This chapter highlights the value of supporting civil society not only through emergencies but also in day-to-day operations, offering rare silver linings from the pandemic. The chapter suggest four research priorities to 'build back radically better'.