‘Saving face’ and public health policy during COVID-19 (Luna Dolezal)

By Arthur Rose and Luna Dolezal

During the COVID-19 crisis,  metaphors of “saving face”, and its corollary “losing face”, have emerged as motivating forces that explain the policy decisions of some nation states and organizations. However, an Orientalist tendency to associate “face saving” with Asian countries has led to a pseudo division between countries that rationally “follow the science” and those that allow emotions about reputation to dictate public health policy. In this article, we question the efficacy of such rhetoric when it dictates political interventions in public health policy.

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