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.
by Ian Collard (Melbourne)
We invited Ian to close this project for us, using a song with a message – ‘Help Me’. This is the last post on this series, to be followed by a coda next week . Thanks, meantime, to Ian for playing us out, and thanks to all our contributors, to all those who have helped us and each other in these terrible times.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
An online workshop on “Living in Crisis” organized by the TASA Social Theory thematic group and Thesis Eleven.
Speakers: Deborah Lupton, Craig Calhoun, Peter Vale and Peter Beilharz
by Alonso Casanueva Baptista
The secretariat of public education in Mexico – the institution in charge of the standardized schooling practices there – organized for the current semester to take place via radio, internet, but most importantly, television. From August 24th to the end of the school year (July 2021), thirty million Mexican students will enrol in school whilst relying on technologies that usually do not play a central role in their formal learning experiences. The written word will be overtaken by waves, signals, and connections.