The Virus in the Queues

by Beth Vale

In the queue, the language of ‘social distancing’ is loaded with meaning – illuminating the connections between physical distance and social disparity. Queues make visible the social distance between those who wait and (often far-removed) centres of authority.

Before the Catastrophe: 1940 vs 2020

by Abram de Swaan

In order to gain a better understanding of the course of events, it is necessary to examine the coronavirus pandemic in its broader economic and political context. In the process, there emerges a tripartite constellation that may well ultimately lead to catastrophe.

Poem: Surge Ode Lament

by John Kinsella

Surge Ode Lament: thinking tangentially over elements of canto XXIV of Dante’s Purgatorio [Gluttons and the newest ‘sweet style’ of lyric…] and Liszt’s Dante Symphony and the hungry suffering in the wake of the reign of the Global Gluttons who firmly believe they have done enough penance for having to tolerate a reduction in profits

Praying in the Pandemic

by Charlie Samuya Veric

In my town, the recorded prayer takes place at 12 in the afternoon and at 8 in the evening, the latter followed by the saying of the rosary, also in Hiligaynon. Like drinking, gambling, and cockfighting, praying is part of the everyday soundscape of the town during the pandemic. So, too, it contains within it the dual character of life-making wherein authority and resistance are fused in its everyday performance.

Disaster Communism

by Steve Matthewman

While disaster capitalism narratives are well known to us, the bigger and more consistent story is its opposite. Sociology furnishes us with over a century’s worth of empirical evidence to show that communitas, the coming together of people for other people to secure a world together, is one of the most commonly made observations when disaster strikes


by Megan Warin (Adelaide) and Natali Valdez (Wellesley)

The underlying message of slogans like ‘My Body, My Choice’ is ‘white bodies have choices.’ The ‘freedom’ to not wear a mask is not equally accessible to everyone, and neither are the health risks. Black, Brown and Indigenous people have a higher risk of dying from Covid-19 and by the hands of the police.

Paradoxes of Populism during the Pandemic

by Rogers Brubaker

What makes the present moment so fraught is that the dynamics of medical, economic, political, and epistemic crises interpenetrate in complex and largely unforeseeable ways. The future course of the pandemic, for example, itself depends on many complexly interacting processes.

Collage: Instead

by Nathalie Karagiannis

Hospital staff, deserted cities, the return of animals. The contemporary unfolding of the pandemic through collage.

Covid-19 and the future of sovereignty in South Africa

by Jonny Steinberg

A decade hence, when we look back at the way South Africans responded to the coming of Covid-19, the irony will surely be as sad as it is stark. In the face of a global threat long imagined, people took shelter under the cover of the Leviathan, notwithstanding its many glaring imperfections.