With this issue, Thesis Eleven is 40 years old. Who would have thunk? The day John Lennon was murdered, we picked up the boxes in Julian Triado’s Renault 12, news on the radio, axles groaning, us, I suppose, otherwise elated, but also in shock. What were these new times? This issue, guest edited by Vrasidis Karalis, takes us back by our line in the labyrinth to Cornelius Castoriadis, who was always among our keenest supporters.
by Peter Beilharz
8 December, 1980. Today, Thesis Eleven is forty years old. Who would have thunk? The day John Lennon was murdered, we picked up the boxes in Julian Triado’s Renault 12, news on the radio, axles groaning, us, I suppose, otherwise elated, but also in shock. What were these new times?
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.
This special issue features papers delivered at the 2018 International Conference on Marxist Critical Theory in Eastern Europe held at Sichuan University, Chengdu. The issue features essays authored by the late Agnes Heller who was the keynote speaker at this event.
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.