Article: My Own Private Utopia

by Peter Beilharz

Utopia has always been part of my world, ever since I started thinking about it. Was this 1968? A little after, later in high school. Utopia seemed ubiquitous; the possibilities of new worlds abundant

COVID-19: CODA

by Peter Beilharz and Sian Supski (Melbourne)

Covid-19 has taken over the world, taken over everything including our waking everyday lives, our dreamlives, our scholarship and future institutional funding logistics. Our friend and collaborator from Jozi, Peter Vale, provoked this special project in insisting that we must respond, call out members of our global network and others to respond to – think and write – this crisis.

Cuba: autocratic governance and pandemic juncture

by Johanna Cilano Pelaez (Mexico)

While COVID-19 has impacted all of Latin America, Cuba has faced it from its own particular situation. The state’s ability to control the main resources of the economy and regulate social behaviour – important for the implementation of mitigating measures at a pandemic juncture – goes hand in hand with the absence of a rule of law and the lack of mechanisms of participation to reduce the arbitrariness of power.

Covid Disaster in America and the World

by Craig Calhoun (Tempe, Arizona)

The disaster in America points to hard truths about Covid that matter everywhere. Covid strikes rich countries as well as poor, powerful as well as weak. Vulnerability that does not map neatly onto old divisions of developed from underdeveloped or imperialist from post-colonial. Its impact is shaped by pre-existing social conditions and it is uneven inside each country as well as internationally. Politics readily compromises response and sometimes all but completely derails it.

Eleven theses or hypotheses on the way out of the pandemic

by Michel Wieviorka (Paris)

How to think about the post-pandemic? This is not a simple question. The phenomenon is global, since it concerns the whole world, but its treatment is mainly national, with considerable differences from one country to another. The pandemic is not static but moving. Paradoxically it may well be long-lasting, since we do not know if and when humanity as a whole, but also specific countries, will be able to stop living with the pandemic, and precisely envisage emerging from it.

What Is a Crisis?

by Phumlani Pikoli (Johannesburg)

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has been in a state of panic, fearing the unprecedented times we face. The idea that the pandemic has induced some pre-pubescent existential crisis is laughable, however.

As the world has been forced to sit and reckon with its own systemic failures and global structures of existence the real crisis is, ‘what does it mean to be a human supporting the failed system of global capitalism’? After all, is democracy not a rich person’s game?

Postcards from the Covid-19 pandemic

by Simon Marginson

The Covid-19 pandemic is instructive for social theory. It is like a gigantic experiment. It is not a controlled experiment, but a universal condition that enables differentiation on the basis of time and space, both geographical and discursive. It is possible to compare society before and during the pandemic, and also to compare the political and social evolutions and manifestations of society-under-pandemic-conditions in different nations and regions.

Possible Futures, Now

by Tawana Kupe (Pretoria)

Drawing from both traditions, universities are trying understand how it was that science largely missed the signs of Covid’s coming, and so fulfil their obligation to secure the long-term future of humanity on this planet.

But they know, too, that the university must rise to the immediate challenges of global health, education and economic crises; job losses; poverty; and the overriding sense of uncertainty and insecurity. These all existed pre-Covid, of course, but the pandemic has aggravated each with knock-on effects.