Thinking Corona measures with Foucault
with Jan Simon Hutta and Christoph Schemann1
University of Bayreuth
The thoughts to follow have been formulated as a spur to discussion about some of the power relations manifested in state responses to the Covid-19 pandemic up to early April, 2020. While it touches themes covered by others, the essay is significantly longer and more detailed than most that have appeared at the time of writing. This is due to its pedagogical intent: it was conceived as a reading for a Masters seminar scheduled to take place in the summer of 2020. Its purpose is to introduce students to Foucault’s work in a tailored summary of his thinking on power relations, and to deploy Foucault’s ideas in a broad (and necessarily provisional) analysis of the current Corona crisis. Readers already familiar with Foucault’s analyses of power relations may wish to skip directly to Part II (page 16). In the interest of timely distribution, the essay has not been subjected to a comprehensive review process, only discussed internally by the three authors. Lacking complete access to notes and sources, the text is relatively thinly and unevenly sprinkled with citations to the academic literature. There is likewise no attempt to reference more than a handful among the hundreds of useful critical interventions that have been proliferating rapidly in recent weeks. Finally, it includes almost no specific citations of current reporting on the Corona situation. Familiarity with the unfolding of current events is simply assumed. All errors and omissions are the responsibility of the lead author.
Editor: With thanks to Progressive Geographies for this link