Lecture series im Wintersemester 2020/2021

Seit nunmehr knapp einem Jahr ist unser Alltag in so gut wie allen Bereichen – von Haushalt und Familie über Arbeit und Studium bis hin zur Nutzung des öffentlichen Raumes – von der Covid-19-Pandemie geprägt. Dabei besteht die Gefahr, dass temporäre Einschränkungen sich schleichend zu strukturellen Verschiebungen verfestigen. Welche wirtschaftlichen Restriktionen und neuen Interventionsformen konnten sich beispielsweise unter dem Begriff „emergency governance“ bislang etablieren? Welche ökonomischen Rationalitäten, sozialen Differenzierungen und Subjektivierungen hat das allgegenwärtige Infektionsrisiko hervorgebracht? Wie haben sich Handlungsnormen, aber auch staatliche und private Verantwortlichkeiten im Gesundheitssystem verschoben? Inwieweit erfordert das Virus ein neues, sozio-materielles Verständnis von Verletzlichkeit und Widerstandsfähigkeit? Die Ringvorlesung des Wintersemesters 2010/21 greift diese Themen auf und fragt, welche bleibenden Veränderungen der Covid-19-Ausnahmezustand möglicherweise in Gesellschaft, Politik und Ökonomie hinterlassen wird. 

Die Veranstaltung findet in virtueller Form statt. Die entsprechenden Zugangsdaten sind im Vorlesungsverzeichnis unter folgendem Eintrag abrufbar: Kolloquium/Ringvorlesung Wirtschaftsgeographie: Corona, Crises, and the New Economics of Global Health

Das Vortragsprogramm kann HIER als PDF heruntergeladen werden.

Corona, Crises, and the New Economics of Global Health

18. November, 14 Uhr: Ben Anderson (Geography, Durham University)
Interval, Pause, Return: COVID-19 and the Politics of Emergency

Across different types of states and governments, the affect imbued vocabulary of emergency has been regularly used in relation to the event of COVID-19. This is unsurprising. Together with disaster, crisis, catastrophe and incident, emergency is one of the few genres that exist for making sense of and acting in relation to events. Focusing on the UK and moving across different scenes of emergency, the paper analyses the practices, affects and politics of emergency in relation to COVID-19 around three co-existing spatio-temporal forms: the ‘interval’ of and for action; the ‘pause’ as an open ended suspension; and the ‘return’ as the promise of the resumption of normality. It concludes by speculating that we are witnessing a new configuration of emergency governance that does not fit with existing theories organised around either the intensification of discretionary sovereignty or the liberal governance of circulation.

02. Dezember, 16 Uhr: Clare Herrick (Geography, King’s College London)
COVID-19: Subjectivity, Risk and Ambiguous Vulnerabilities

Focussing on the UK, this paper explores how COVID-19 has reframed and recreated the question and category of individual ‘risk’ and ‘vulnerability’ through government requests for the self-isolation or shielding of particular groups by age or health status. Whether ‚officially’ defined as vulnerable or self-defined by virtue of perceived risk; COVID-19 has created new processes of subjectification that splice together epidemiological, behavioural, moral and political readings of risk. Older people that had never once considered themselves vulnerable must now be shielded for their own protection. Those suffering from chronic diseases have been redefined as vulnerable and must protect themselves. Drawing on policy and evidentiary documents, government speeches, press conferences, and media analysis of COVID-19 coverage between March and June 2020, this paper thus critically explores the epidemic of subjectification that has both emerged from and is reshaping notions and categories of ‚clinical’ vulnerability in relation to emergent and uncertain forms of biomedical risk. In so doing, it also questions those persistent, chronic forms of ‚structural‘ vulnerability that are not only magnified by COVID-19 but also simultaneously reinforced by and obscured in the UK response.

16. Dezember, 16 Uhr: Matthew Sparke (Politics, University of California Santa Cruz)
COVID and the Death Spiral of Neoliberalism: From Roll-Back Vulnerabilities and Roll-Out Resilience to Roll-Over Ruination?

The COVID pandemic has highlighted anew the diverse ways in which neoliberal policies and practices are implicated in threats to global health.  To come to terms with these threats and their diverse causal pathways, this presentation argues that the viral metaphors that have been used by Jamie Peck to describe the global evolution and mutation of ‘actually existing neoliberalism’ can be adapted into a more-than-metaphorical materialist approach to the somatization of the vulnerabilities and responsibilities that are actively co-produced by neoliberal policies and practices. The policies that Peck has described as ‘roll-back’ neoliberalism – policies including structural adjustment, austerity, deregulation, privatization and welfare reform – have long been critiqued for the ways in which they have led to the undermining of health systems while increasing ill-health among the poor.   More recently, the ‘roll-out’ neoliberal policies and practices associated with user fees, personalized health investment norms, and return-on-investment disease-targeting by public-private-philanthropic partnerships have also been critiqued for the ways in which they curtail enduring commitments to health systems and global health as a universal human right.  But now in the context of COVID and the ‘roll-over neoliberalism’ that Peck and colleagues associate with the global mutations of authoritarian anti-liberalism we see the evolution of these neoliberal disease dangers into a still more destructive pandemic.  Reflecting on the associated death spirals in countries where defending economic liberty has trumped concerns with increasing mortality, this presentation asks whether the resulting damage and suffering will finally lead to a point when actually existing neoliberalism stops actually existing.

20. Januar, 14 Uhr: Steve Hinchliffe (Geography, University of Exeter)
The Next Pandemic is Bacterial: on Drug Resistance and Postcolonial Global Health

Drug resistant infections are intricate with the exercise of power.  Rather than ‘superbugs’ being the vital signs of recalcitrant forms of life that withstand biomedical technique, antimicrobial resistance emerges within and through social and medical power’s infinitesimal mechanisms.   In this paper, approaches to antimicrobial resistance that involve identification and targeting of unruly people and microbes are eschewed in favour of approaches that understand resistance as embedded within a milieu of social and material processes.  The latter provide impetus to challenge the assumptions and norms of global health.  Mobilising accounts of postcolonial health as well as post-colony microbes, the paper argues that the tendency to treat resistance as material and social recalcitrance, and to assume that its singularity provides the basis for a unified and corrective approach, irrespective of milieu, health practices or ecologies, risks reproducing a form of human triumphalism and exceptionalism that resistance itself should have us pause to question.

03. Februar, 14 Uhr: Ann Kelly (Anthropology/Global Health, King’s College London)
From Blue Skies to Black Swans: Emergency R&D, Diagnostics, and the Global Health Frontier

A new paradigm of emergency R&D is transforming global health. Beginning with the 2013–2016 West African Ebola crisis, clinical research and product testing have been brought into the frontlines of outbreak response, radically compressing development timelines and unsettling regulatory standards, biosecurity strategies and humanitarian protocols. This paper examines the emerging epistemic practices and ethical norms of emergency R&D as they play out in the development, testing and licensure of novel diagnostics for Ebola, Zika and SARS-CoV-2. Through the concept of the ‘diagnostic frontier’, we comparatively consider how the benefits and risks of emergency diagnostics have been framed in these three cases, and the trade-offs between global health knowledge, intervention and innovation these international public health crises reveal. Drawing on empirical research with researchers, developers and regulators, we pay particular attention to how novel fit-for-purpose tests conjugate the ‘state of exception’ of public health crises, tracking the re-distribution of public authority forced by the scramble to develop new diagnostic tools. Where research and development are enfolded into medical countermeasures, we suggest that a new frontier of global health is emerging, demarcated by ‘just-in-time’ logics and the radical economization of epidemiological risk at scale.