Lectures

Compassion and sacrifice during COVID-19

This article is part of the series:

COVID-19 highlights the limits of compassion and the need for sacrifice in contemporary capitalism

Compassion with the leader

When the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized over COVID-19, the conservative TV commentator Piers Morgan got very angry. The host of the popular television show Good Morning Britain chastised “those people on social media” who had allegedly mocked and …

Lectures

COVID-19, the Freedom to Die, and the Necropolitics of the Market

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Field hospital constructed in Gothenburg, Sweden in March 2020. Photo: Helén Sjöland.

While reading Giorgio Agamben’s (2020) anthropological note on the “danger” of habituation of Italians to bare life under a state of exception invoked in the name of an allegedly “manufactured” crisis, what comes to our minds – also within the broader context of the pandemic and its …

Lectures

Seeking Urban Metabolisms through Archaeology

The metabolism of a city is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in its archaeology. Decades of excavations triggered by cultural heritage management legislation in Melbourne, Australia reveal a city honeycombed with rubbish pits. Disused cesspits (old-fashioned long-drop toilets), purpose-dug holes and localised dumps filled to the brim with rubbish remain below the factories, office buildings and car parks we see …

Lectures

The Invention of Infodemics: On the Outbreak of Zika and Rumors

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In December 2015, a Brazilian photographer with The Associated Press took a photo of four-month-old José Wesley being bathed in a bucket by his mother. The image was chosen by the photojournalist with care, to show the child himself, and also microcephaly, the best-known characteristic of what would come to …

Lectures

Social Soils and Chimerical Metabolisms

The metabolic rift

“All progress in capitalist agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the worker, but of robbing the soil,” Marx (1976: 637-38) wrote in Volume I of Capital. For Marx, not only was the capitalist mode of production incapable of valuing nature in its own right, but its central contradictions also left it …

Web Roundups

Web Roundup: What Can the Coronavirus Outbreak Tell Us About Capitalism, White Supremacy, and Climate Change?

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In December 2019, a new respiratory virus outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei Province. A new strain of coronavirus, designated COVID-2019, belongs to a large family of viruses, causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe cases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The circumstances around the …