The editors of this first issue of the Crisis Discourse Blog are proud to be able to present a collection of carefully crafted blog posts. They look into the repercussions the pandemic has had on ‘the political’, on what constitutes our political struggle and political identities in the pandemic era. What emerges from this collection is a nuanced view of ‘the pandemic political’ and of the contribution discourse analysis can make to cognise the implications of Covid-19. It demonstrates the complementary or alternative insights that are revealed when one applies different traditions of discourse research and genres of critical reading
Biopolitics has been a widely used concept during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, attention has been limited to practices of discipline and power imposed to safeguard public health and the resultant normalization of states of exception. This narrow reading of biopolitics, however, does not allow us to develop viable alternatives to the vicious circle of surveillance and protest. This blog post suggests viewing biopolitics as a slippery concept. It proposes a more nuanced reading of biopolitics, highlighting its affirmative potential that could help develop imaginaries to counter the current biopolitical impasse. The e-biopolitics of Estonia serves as an example.
This piece discusses the meaning of crisis, clarifies its relationship to exceptionality and considers the usefulness of the concept of crisis within the Covid-19 context. By means of a disambiguation of the term, it is argued that emergency responses come hand in hand with crises. The overlapping of crisis and emergency politics hinders our analytical capacity, and suggests the need to pay more attention to agency when thinking about crises. A critical reading of exceptionality is proposed, mainly through the work of Agamben and Neocleous, to elucidate the usefulness of the term crisis in the current context.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been described as a universal securitization that has resulted in a global state of emergency. However, the research emerging on Covid-19 discourses in different countries shows that securitization was not the universal answer to the pandemic. These findings raise questions not only about the role of the local contexts, but also about our conceptualization of securitization, its thresholds and the relationship between securitization and the state of emergency. This blog post reviews the existing literature on securitizations of Covid-19 and summarizes the practical and theoretical challenges arising from the it.