The necropolitics of COVID-19: Race, class and slow death in an ongoing pandemic'
The Information System Seminar Series features, Tony Joakim Ananiassen Sandset, researcher at Center for Health Sciences Education, UiO
Achille Mbembe states that ‘the ultimate expression of sovereignty resides, to a large degree, in the power and the capacity to dictate who may live and who must die […]. To exercise sovereignty is to exercise control over mortality and to define life as the deployment and manifestation of power’ (Mbembe, 2003. Necropolitics. Public Culture, 15(1), 11–40. https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-15-1-11). For Mbembe a key question is ‘under what practical conditions is the right to kill, to allow to live, or to expose to death exercised?’ (Mbembe, 2003. Necropolitics. Public Culture, 15(1), 11–40. https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-15-1-11). This article will map the necropolitical underpinnings of racial and class-based health disparities and vulnerabilities in the current COVID-19 pandemic. The article will directly engage with the question of ‘under what practical conditions are the right to expose to death’ unfolding in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on news media representations and public health data in the UK and the U.S, the article will provide a disciplinary conjecture arguing for the importance of looking at what I call a ‘state of acceptance’ plays into the necropolitical dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic.