Pandemic, crisis and perspectives : spatial and territorial insights on the CoViD 19

Call for paper for thematic issue


The emerging pathogen responsible for the CoViD-19 outbreak was first notified in the Wuhan area (China) in December 2019. It turned into a pandemic in less than three months. It led to the lockdown of half of the world’s population in order to limit its spread and reduce the pressure   on health care systems This pandemic has many geographical dimensions  1) in terms of diffusion 2)  in the crisis management (economic, social, etc.) 3) in the set up of policies (before, during  and  after  the  lockdown). Biomedical research has quickly got into gear to adress the health challenges imposed by this pandemic. Undoubtedly, there is a need for insights from different disciplines with a spatial territorial perspective on this pandemic. The call for paper below is a non-exhaustive proposal for which the RFST is expecting contributions:

CoViD 19 : Spatial and Social issues in the pandemic management

The extent and brutality of the pandemic led to the implementation of exceptional measures to limit its spread.
– The lockdown and the set of social distancing measures constitute an unprecedented experience whose effects on the general population have not yet been fully assessed. How has the lockdown been put into practice in France and elsewhere? What are the social and spatial disparities in living in lockdown (in particular difficulty or not to respect quarantine)? What are the consequences of the lockdown for vulnerable populations (homeless, migrants, elderly, deprived populations) and on health inequalities?
– The brutality of the pandemic also questions   the transformation of the healthcare systems. The crisis highligths difficulties and shortcuts as well as new forms of cooperation and innovation. These transformations can also be observed in the populations access to health care (changes, refusals, renunciations, adaptations…) at different scales (local organisation of care, globalised supply chain).
-Beyond the polemics, the brutality of the CoViD-19 pandemic invites to (re)examine the recent evolution of the health care systems and their capacities to respond to the emergency? How did health care systems cope with this new situation? For example what are the roles of regional   and local authorities in the management of the crisis? What is the management of the pandemic in other countries, particularly those with highly decentralized health care systems or in developing countries? What are the roles of private actors, Non-Governmental Organizations or community health care systems in the support and the solutions provided to populations? Finally, considering the mortality caused by this pandemic, texts related to death and end-of-life rites can provide an original contribution.

CoViD 19 : Data and methodological issues

Evaluating CoViD-19 infection is a major issue since available data may present: a) Different ways of measurement (data based on mortality,   data based on tests, data on symptomatics, asymptomatics cases…); b) Data sets differences from a country to another (variations in spatial / administrative references); c) Changes over times due to differences in testing facilities, in recording mortality data…
– What are the methodological options for comparing CoViD-19 infection between countries, between regions, places…? Which level for which analysis?
– What are the options to compensate   the lack or the weakness of these data? What are the added values of complementary sources like scientific blogs, collective databases, shared platforms, online enquiries, qualitative data…for analysing the epidemic? What are the impacts of the development of such types of data in terms of: empowerment of people in places, development of different knowledge on the pandemic from a place to another, responses to risk management in space and places…

– What are the problems raised by the development of technologies using tracking? How may they help in understanding   the spatial dynamic of the epidemic? Could the resistance or acceptance of those technologies among citizen influence the epidemic courses? How can they help in managing crisis in places? The increase of tracking data, even temporary, question social and spatial control. What control and involvement should citizen have on both the data collection and its use in places?
– What does expertise on the pandemic tell us about the relationship between sciences and politics? For which purposes or objectives? For instance, analysis based on the use of cartography or spatial modeling are at stake.

CoViD 19 : Geopolitical aspects of the pandemic : Borders, mobilities, globalization

As an emerging disease, the CoViD 19 highlights the gaps, tensions, and risks of the contemporary world.
-What can we observe in terms of differences/closeness, new forms/ lack of cooperation, power struggles ? What kind of relations does the pandemic reveal between different   actors: between states, between Nations and the World Health Organization, between international donors, between foundations or international NGOs?
– How does the spread of CoViD-19 recreate borders and question the cross-border relationships at local or global scales? In many countries, decisions were taken to close borders, to control movements or to restrain them: is it a sign of the resurgence of spatial constraints?
How will the challenges of the pandemic be linked (or not) to the medium and long term environmental issues: climate change, limitation of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, etc.?
-From the perspective   of the medical supply chain, how does the pandemic call into question the regional economic specializations and the abandonment of the production of strategic healthcare materials (tests, masks, chemicals solutions…)? Which geopolitical and intermediary linchpins actors did the crisis reveal?
– Finally, the pandemic brings back fears and perceptions that are often common to epidemics: conspiracy, scapegoats, places perceived “at risk”. How does CoViD-19 reinterpret antagonisms within societies: how are people and places depicted, perceived or stigmatized during the pandemic?
To sum up, the variety of representations of the disease, the challenges   associated with the circulation of information, the diversity of responses across the world, the struggles for influence in international politics, are opening up new global geopolitics, including geohealth.

The Francophone journal on health and territories is a multidisciplinary online journal.
The texts expected in this call for paper may be of various shape: long articles (case studies, literature reviews, summary notes or data analysis, etc.), short articles (research positions, critical analysis) or working – or data papers.
The journal publishes in French, with each text mandatory accompanied by a long abstract in English (800 to 1000 words) describing the method and results and including an illustration as well. Considering the very special nature of the COVID-19 crisis, we will accept texts in the following languages: English, Spanish and German and we will translate them for a publication in French.
We are waiting by June 12. for a 600-word statement of intent outlining the problem, methods and expected results. At the end of this first deadline, we will call for texts in two stages: texts requiring quick publication will be collected during the months of july and august, other texts will be expected in october. The texts will be evaluated in double blind review accordingly with the standards of the journal.
Please send your text at