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Around the Crown

This collection of texts has been further developed to an issue of the webjournal transversal. https://transversal.at/transversal/0420.

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The state measures, the disciplinary and control society effects and the socio-psychological impacts of the corona virus are widely discussed. At the same time, familiar mechanisms of disinformation and fake news are developing in the social media. But what is happening beneath these broad mainstreams, in micro-politics, in collectives, in the social surrounds around the virus? In a series of blog posts, original texts and translations, transversal texts tries to give space to these voices and to promote the debates on social responses to isolation and anti-sociality.

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Die staatlichen Maßnahmen, die disziplinar- und kontrollgesellschaftlichen Effekte und die sozio-psychologischen Auswirkungen des Corona-Virus werden breit diskutiert. Zugleich entwickeln sich schon gewohnt gewordene Mechanismen der Desinformation und Fake News in den Social Media. Was aber geschieht unterhalb dieser breiten Mainstreams, in den Mikropolitiken, den Kollektiven, den sozialen Umgebungen um das Virus herum? In einer Reihe von Blog-Beiträgen, Originaltexten und Übersetzungen versucht transversal texts diesen Stimmen Raum zu geben und die Debatten über die sozialen Antworten auf Isolierung und Anti-Sozialität zu befördern.

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Las medidas estatales, los efectos disciplinarios y de control de la sociedad y los impactos socio-psicológicos del coronavirus son ampliamente discutidos. Al mismo tiempo, se están desarrollando mecanismos familiares de desinformación y bulos en las redes sociales. Pero, ¿qué está sucediendo por debajo de estas amplias corrientes dominantes, en la micropolítica, en los colectivos, en los rodeos sociales alrededor del virus? En una serie de publicaciones de blog, textos originales y traducciones, transversal texts intenta dar espacio a estas voces y promover debates sobre las respuestas sociales al aislamiento y la antisocialidad.

The phrase “corona-crisis” is these days on everyone’s lips, and understandably so. We are faced with a deadly disease that, only a few months ago, was completely unknown and has in the meantime dramatically changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the world. They, no doubt, feel the crisis firsthand, but do they—do we?—really know what it means to be “in crisis”?

Boris Buden 23 06 20

It becomes impossible to think when COVID-19 turns into a synonym for one’s own death or, worse, for the death of a loved one or the hundreds of thousands of strangers, which is also painful. Uncertainty and anxiety cloud understanding and stifle speech. In spite of this, it is essential to think and to listen.

María Antonia González Valerio and Rosaura Martínez Ruiz 16 04 20

I am not sure that the best approach to analyzing the current state of liberties and rights in Spain, Europe, and increasingly the rest of the world is that of the rule of law and its enforcement during this pandemic and after it. In the first place, because we immediately arrive at an impasse: the state of alarm (and increasingly, of exception) has been declared in conformity with the constitutional procedure set out in the corresponding organic law. The same could happen with the legal declaration of the state of siege or of exception if there is an absolute parliamentary majority that approves it.

Raúl Sánchez Cedillo 05 04 20

#PandemieLocali is a collection of short videos about the pandemic #Covid19 made in the distance, in order to connect points of view, places, experiences and perspectives on the edge of this sudden present. The idea comes from the need and desire to share doubts and questions in order to compose a collective reflection capable of showing the ambivalences, complexities and possibilities of this moment. We share here the first interviews, to which others will be added, and some reflections on our work.

Chopin 02 04 20

And it happened. The same body that just days ago filled the streets, that went on feminist strike, the one that danced at a party, that produced discourse, orgasms, and life, is today under suspicion. Because it transmits everything – culture, defenses, affects – its capacity to carry and spread a virus poses it as an enemy. Obligatory social isolation, disengagement, red zone, quarantine, cancellation, ban, shutdown, geo-reference, state of exception, swift security measures, national networks, a matter of the state. The army policing the virus, the police patrolling meetings, preventative quarantine, biopolitical control; the virus is a terrorist organization, and every being a suspicious cell. Many of us have been talking about the body; about its centrality and about its neglect; about the necessity of liberating and listening to it, or of disciplining and controlling it, depending on the ideology. Now, when the entire situation is organized around it, we have no fucking idea what to do with it.

Lucía Naser 02 04 20

COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the second severe acute respiratory syndrome virus since 2002, is now officially a pandemic. As of late March, whole cities are sheltered in place and, one by one, hospitals are lighting up in medical gridlock brought about by surges in patients.

Rob Wallace, Alex Liebman, Luis Fernando Chaves, Rodrick Wallace 01 04 20

All of a sudden, what we have been thinking for the last fifty years has to be rethought from scratch. Thank god (is god a virus?) that we have an abundance of extra time now because the old business is out of business.

Franco „Bifo“ Berardi 31 03 20

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.

Angela Mitropoulos 28 03 20

La gestión política de las epidemias pone en escena la utopía de comunidad y las fantasías inmunitarias de una sociedad, externalizando sus sueños de omnipotencia de su soberanía política.

Paul B. Preciado 28 03 20

With this pandemic, the 21st century begins. A century in which defending the right to live will be a priority.

Montserrat Galcerán Huguet 24 03 20

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.

Catherine Malabou 23 03 20

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.

kritnet.org 18 03 20

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.

Sandro Mezzadra 14 03 20

Get the Quacksalber!

Dalli all'untore!

Packt den Giftsalber!

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…

Laboratorio Occupato Morion 12 03 20