Around the Crown
Below are two texts. Most of the first, “Against Quarantine,” was written in late January and originally published in New Inquiry in mid-February. The second, much shorter text was written in mid-March as a postscript to Contract and Contagion: From Biopolitics to Oikonomia (2012).
The first text addresses the growing recourse by governments to quarantine measures. It argues that quarantines are ineffective in slowing the spread of the virus, but nevertheless effective in promoting a racialised understanding of health and disease and, moreover, one that converges with both privatised healthcare and authoritarian governance.
With this pandemic, the 21st century begins. A century in which defending the right to live will be a priority.
Rousseau, Robinson Crusoe, and “I”
In May of 1743, a vessel from Corfu carrying bodies of dead crew members who had died of a mysterious disease arrived in Messina. The ship and cargo were burned, but cases of a strange new disease were soon thereafter observed in the hospital and in the poorest parts of the town; and in the summer, a frightening plague epidemic developed, killing forty to fifty thousand people, and then disappeared before spreading to other parts of Sicily.
Stop Europe's Trend Towards Fascism
It happened as it was to be expected: Four years of standing on the sidelines have resulted in a catastrophe. 40,000 human beings, penned up in hopelessly overcrowded EU-hotspot centres like Moria on Lesvos Island, living under squalid living and hygienic conditions, will soon face the deadly disease.
A prolonged wait at the pharmacy, a long queue before entering a supermarket. Experiences like this, today increasingly common, can help us to see how the spreading of Coronavirus is transforming our society. Yet, more precisely, the global pandemic, and the measures put in place by the Italian government to attempt to counteract it, are in fact merely exacerbating tendencies that have already existed for a while.
Or the return of the infamous pillory in the time of digital quarantine
First premise. We are not conspiracy theorists. Second premise, just to avoid misunderstanding. We are aware of the current medical emergency and convinced that we need to change our habits. With this in mind, we have decided to cancel events and concerts, to do our part to prevent the situation from worsening in the face of an already ailing health system. We are also organizing a relief action for the most affected people in the city, especially the elderly. All this is okay, we know it and we are doing it. And yet…