Africa’s response to COVID-19: a governmentality in disguise masterclass?
(2022) International Review of Sociology, .
At the risk of oversimplification, virtually all research that scrutinizes COVID-19 is propelled by identical points of departures which chief in their assessment, portray how the pandemic accentuates the likelihood of illiberal or autocratic regimes tightening restrictions upon civil liberties. This paper is no different as it is predicated along this initial starting point but is also carrying an ambition to bring to light how the pandemic context, perhaps counterintuitively has also provided authoritarian governments with the platform to uptake provisions that bring about a veneer of civil rights and the potential which this vacillation between increasingly authoritarian and considerably liberal approaches in handling the virus generates. This paper is offset by Foucault’s theorizing on Governmentality and illuminates on how African governments have responded to the virus in the textbook manner Foucault envisages. In so doing, it challenges the generally advanced idea that Governmentality is only applicable in Western liberal contexts by looking at African countries response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has enlisted classic Governmentality techniques such as disciplinary power, surveillance and power/knowledge monopoly by African states. © 2022 University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’.
Africa; COVID-19; disciplinary power; Foucault; governmentality