Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Pandemic Conundrum: To Control Or To Trust? – Analysis, Eurasia Review June 27, 2020 By Yasmine Wong

The COVID-19 pandemic has blurred the boundaries between private and public life. Government efforts to discourage socially irresponsible behaviour have emboldened individuals to report, shame, and berate individuals who flout rules. This rise in mutual surveillance erodes trust in the community, and in social capital.

The Panopticon aptly describes lived reality during the pandemic, where the encouragement of mutual surveillance cultivates a panoptic social environment. COVID-19 may prompt suspicion and distrust; this forms part of our ‘behavioural immune system’. It consists of behavioural and psychological adaptations we undergo to reduce the likelihood of contact with the virus.

One thought on “Pandemic Conundrum: To Control Or To Trust? (2020)

  1. Dr Phil Baker says:

    COVID-19 has provided all governments of the world with a collective opportunity to implement a new paradigm or system of subjection premised on an emerging discourse of individual safety and security. It represents a regime akin to Foucault’s notion of ‘Discipline & Punishment’, whilst simultaneously distorting the social contract. If sufficient resistance is not forthcoming in the short to medium term, individuals will be subjugated on a global scale like never before. While state surveillance is nothing new, the scale and scope of it is. Liberty is being displaced by a carefully orchestrated global centre of authority, not that dissimilar to former and existing police states. There is a clear and deliberate shift in power away from sovereign states towards an emerging centre of global control. Welcome to the new world order.


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