MAPPING THE PANDEMIC FROM LEFT FIELD
Published on line by Compass Wednesday June 24 2020
This essay looks at a range of public, personal and governmental responses to the pandemic for what it tells us about the kind of society and culture we live in. Drawing on insights from anthropology and psychoanalysis a model of risk perception is outlined and applied to understanding the forms of social solidarity which have been invoked by the government’s confused and often contradictory public health messaging.
The essay argues for an exit strategy from the present moral panic aimed at ‘high risk’ groups towards a moral economy of social recovery based on the multitude not the tribe, in which public health, for the many and not the few, is recognised as the true wealth of the nation. The piece concludes by considering how far the scope of mindfulness could be extended to give the Left a handle on the present conjuncture.
A chronicle of many deaths foretold- Going Viral: diary of a communicable disease – Danger:Pandemonology at Work! The making of a bio-political crisis – The emotional geography of risk- Imagining the body politic in a state of emergency – The imperatives of solidarity: from moral panic to moral economy- There goes the cohort: Covid:19 replays the Generation Game – Hope after Woke: on critical mindfulness -’I Can’t Breathe’ : Mapping Politics’ Other Scene – Voice, Agency and the art of listening.
This essay is a companion piece to ‘Political Mindfulness: Fresh Perspectives on a Multiple Crisis’ edited by Phil Cohen with contributions from Ruth Lister, Angela McRobbie, Dick Pountain, Michael Rustin and Valerie Walkerdine. This is available to read or download on line NOW from compassonline.org.uk/publications
This article is due to appear in LivingMaps Review 8 in April 2020 . It examines the way in which conventional cartography is used in mapping pandemics and the challenge this poses to those who want to develop alternative strategies which empower the people and not the State.