Tag: COVID-19

Life and Language in the Virocene

The Virocene Sorry, this seat is taken. Move out Anthropocene, enter the Virocene. Actually, the seat was never really for Anthropos. It was meant for a parasite that could take over this planet. Oh, wait. The Virocene is the age of the parasitical, the viral, the airborne. The Virocene is the epoch in which the…

The Pandemic and Us: Enemy, Resistance, Desire

Much has already been written about the coronavirus’s impact on the legal phenomenon, as well as about the use of national laws in response to the contagion. In this post, I would like to pursue what David Graeber indicates as a compelling line of inquiry. Accordingly, I will consider three broad contemporary trends which law…

Democratic Biopolitics Revisited: A Response to a Critique

In his recent intervention on CLT, Bryan Doniger offered a critique of my short intervention ‘Against Agamben: Is a Democratic Biopolitics Possible?’. The main points of this critique are (a) that I do not pay enough attention to the notion of biopolitics as it is indeed articulated in the work of Michel Foucault, confusing anatomo-politics…

Zoomism and Discipline for Productive Immobility

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The virus lurks on car door handles, on doorknobs and the floor, on the breath of others or in a friend’s hug, on onions in the supermarket, and on the hands of the valet who parks your car. If you venture outside, everything and everyone is a threat. So, it is better to stay home,…

A Foucauldian enquiry in the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic management (Critique in Times of Coronavirus)

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Is the substantially global management of the coronavirus pandemic a novelty or would it be possible to trace its origin in an earlier order of things? Could the specific model selected for the governance of the ongoing pandemic be subjected to a certain genealogy? According to the text on “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” (1971), Michel Foucault…

Two Problems with Democratic Biopolitics (Critique in times of Coronavirus)

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COVID-19 has led to renewed interest in Michel Foucault’s concept of biopolitics, but it has also revealed that this concept is widely misunderstood. Too many commentators have relied upon an overly broad definition of biopolitics as a ‘politics of health’ or a ‘politics of life.’ Panagiotis Sotiris’ popular recent article ‘Is Democratic Biopolitics Possible?’ exemplifies…

The Tragic Transparency of the Virus

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  Today’s cultural, political and ideological debates are imbued with a strange opacity, the result of their remove from the concrete day-to-day experience of the vast majority of people — ordinary citizens, or la gente de a pie, as they say in Latin America. That is especially the case with politics, which is supposed to…

Crying for Repression: Populist and Democratic Biopolitics in Times of COVID-19.

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We live in very Foucauldian times, as the many think-pieces published on biopolitics and COVID-19 show. Yet what is remarkable—biopolitically—about the current situation has gone largely unnoticed: We are witnessing a new form of biopolitics today that could be termed populist biopolitics. Awareness of this populist biopolitics helps illuminate what is needed today: democratic biopolitics.…

International Economic Law & COVID-19

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International economic law (IEL), broadly defined, refers to the rules governing the cross-border movement of goods, people, technology and finance capital, as well as the institutions created to design and enforce such rules. IEL has, over the past three decades, developed exponentially as a field of study, evolving from a sub-field of public international law…

Must Society be Defended from Agamben?

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Many European countries have by now been in lockdown for more than a week. This has given everyone ample time to reflect on our current condition. Many of the world’s leading critical thinkers have shared their thoughts with us through op-eds, blog posts, and so on. Among the more troubling are three opinion pieces Giorgio…

A Corona Utopia in Three Parts

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“This episode of Black Mirror sucks!” The slogan that briefly went viral in the United States after the election of Trump has now acquired an even more infectious, irresistible irony for many in coronavirus-stricken Europe. The fear of loved ones and ourselves getting infected by the inconspicuous threat that is Covid-19 has merged with confusion…

Covid-19 and the Continuity of the Familiar

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The outbreak of Covid-19 is billed as a ‘once in a century event’. It has appeared as the prophesised rupture in our social, economic and political fabric of the world, with the recognition that what follows may not resemble what humanity has become used to. It is posed as a discontinuity in the normality of…

Virus: All That Is Solid Melts into Air

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There is a debate within the social sciences about whether it is easier to ascertain the truthfulness and quality of a society’s institutions under normal daily circumstances or in exceptional situations, during times of crisis. One can probably learn from both types of situation, but each of them is certain to bring to the fore…

Against Agamben: Is a Democratic Biopolitics Possible?

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Giorgio Agamben’s recent intervention which characterizes the measures implemented in response to the Covid-19 pandemic as an exercise in the biopolitics of the ‘state of exception’ has sparked an important debate on how to think of biopolitics. The very notion of biopolitics, as it was formulated by Michel Foucault, has been a very important contribution to our…

Covid: The Ethical Disease

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This morning, as I was cycling down a road I frequently take on my way to work, I came across a blockage, big orange plastic net boards cutting across the way, stopping all traffic from going through. Some road works, nothing out of the ordinary. It just meant I could not pass through, had to…