Lars Erik Løvaas Gjerde, (2022). Biopolitical and juridical creations of the quarantine hotel: A discourse analysis of the Norwegian case. Acta Sociologica. First published online November 24, 2022
The quarantine hotel is one of several political instruments used to control the spread of Covid-19 in diverse countries, from Norway to China. I apply discourse analysis to map the discursive struggle to define the quarantine hotel in Norway. The government and other key political actors channel a biopolitical discourse constituting the quarantine hotel as necessary to protect the Norwegian population from imported contagion. This discourse’s meaning is contested by a juridical counter-discourse articulated by lawyers and travellers, which constitutes the quarantine hotel as imprisonment/internment and a breach of rights. Travellers tend to combine this with a biopolitical counter-discourse, dismissing the quarantine hotel’s biopolitical properties, strengthening the juridical critique. These discourses are important resources in a transnational, ongoing struggle, where the prize is the legitimacy of the politics of Covid-19, and the very ordering of the post-pandemic world.