by Sikong Zhao
This short essay aims at reflecting upon the way the Covid-19 crisis has consolidated the popular Chinese perception of the connection between official institutions, party membership and grass-roots participatory politics with Chinese characteristics. Nation-wide expectations for effective management, organizational capabilities and rapid implementation have been very popular in a country with more than 1.4 billion people.
by Donald Sassoon
Consuming culture in almost complete isolation has been possible for years but under the conditions of the current pandemic we are encouraged and even obliged to do so.
by Michael Hviid Jacobsen
Almost overnight, death – after being absent for such a long time – re-entered the collective consciousness of contemporary society. Death, the constant doppelganger of life that we had been successful in keeping at arm’s length for so long, suddenly kicked in the door and made itself something to be talked about, acted upon, dealt with. This time, death (or at least the prospect of and potential for it) presents itself as the ‘Corona virus’, which within a few months has become a worldwide problem and transformed the way we live.
by Izabela Wagner
We cannot spend our lives being blind and pretending that we are too weak to change the powerful system, especially those of us who are sociologists and scholars, who should be the ‘medical doctors of our societies’. Societies are our sick patients today, and not only because of coronavirus. Our societies are touched by callousness. By insensitivity to the violation of human rights. We, as members of that society, are also ill, because of our passivity. We are imprisoned by our conformism and focused only on ourselves.
by Nivedita Menon
In India, twin processes have driven the country in accelerated mode since the parliamentary elections of 2014, in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power – predatory capitalism and Hindu supremacist politics. Both have seamlessly melded with the virus to emerge as practically invincible, at least at this moment in time.
by Glyn Davis
Charity might not be ideal, but in a world of limited states it matters that wealthy individuals and organisations address the consequences of inequality. Best they not be required, but better they exist than leave people destitute.
by Ayça Çubukçu
There is a utopic element buried in the apocalyptic saying, “Another End of the World is Possible.” It too champions something. In the time that remains, it too affirms the possibility of another reality.
by Dilip M Menon
Covid-19 has made us reflect on the human condition, the connection with unknown others, in our own societies as much as elsewhere. From Wuhan to Washington, from Johannisholm to Johannesburg, the virus laughs at national borders and travels through human hosts. Virality is however, trumped by nationality as nations put into place more and more restrictions on travel and movement and the body remains marked as ever by colour, class and caste.
by Warwick Anderson
In the Covid-19 pandemic, Australian beaches have been imagined simply as anomalous spaces of contamination, shorn of their ecological and sociological complexity, their actual life worlds. The understanding of viral transmission has been reduced to a mechanical model of contact and contamination, with some alien and stigmatized groups recognized as having special proclivity for carrying and communicating the pathogen–stranger super-spreaders–on safeguarded and sacralized sites, such as the beach.
by Peter Wagner
The experience of the lockdown has widened social imagination and has increased the potential for bringing about a positive social transformation. But we are also clearly still far away from constituting authoritative collective action towards resolving urgent problems on the basis of free expression and democratic deliberation.