Dividing the beds: A risk community under ‘code black’?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


During the covid-19 crisis a risk of ‘code black’ emerged in the Netherlands. In case of ‘code black’ the very senior citizens might not receive intensive care treatment in case of illness, due to shortages. Sociologist Ulrich Beck argued that palpable risks lead to the creation of new networks of solidarity. In this article this assumption is investigated by analysing the different storylines prevalent in the public discussion about ‘code black’. Initially, storylines showing sympathy with the plight of the elderly came to the fore. However, storylines brought forward by the medical organisations eventually dominated, giving them the opportunity to determine health care policy to a large extent. The discursive process on code black taken as a whole displayed a struggle over favourable risk positions, instead of the formation of risk solidarity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-238
Number of pages21
JournalNetherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy (NJLP)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cosmopolitan solidarity, COVID-19, Health care regulation, Risk society, Argumentative discourse analysis


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