Geographers, sociologists, philosophers etc. on covid-19

Several A few pieces by geographers, sociologists and philosophers – presented without commentary.

First posted 24 March 2020; last updated 27 March 2020. Thanks to those who have sent additional ones, especially Michael O’Rourke.

A much more extensive, chronologically ordered, and five-language list is available from The Thomas Project.

Michele Lancione and Abdoumaliq Simone, Bio-austerity and Solidarity in the Covid-19 Space of Emergency – Episode One and Episode Two (Society and Space)

David Harvey, Anti-Capitalist Politics in the Time of COVID-19 (Reading Marx’s Capital)

Alain Badiou, On the Epidemic Situation (Verso blog)

Panagiotis Sotiris, Against Agamben: Is a Democratic Biopolitics Possible? (Viewpoint)

William Davies, The last global crisis didn’t change the world. But this one could (The Guardian)

Angela Last, Covid-19, ‘European Science’ and the Plague (Discover Society)

Catherine Malabou, To Quarantine from Quarantine: Rousseau, Robinson Crusoe, and “I” (Critical Inquiry)

Mike Davis, The monster is finally at the door (LINKS)

Rob Wallace, Notes on a novel Coronavirus (MR Online)

Gordon Hull, Why We Are Not Bare Life: What’s wrong with Agamben’s Thoughts on Coronavirus (New APPS)

Judith Butler, Capitalism has its limits (Verso blog)

Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi: Bifo – Diary of the psycho-deflation (Verso blog)

Giorgio Agamben, “The state of exception provoked by an unmotivated emergency” (translated at Positions); response by Jean-Luc Nancy (in Italian), clarifications from Agamben at AUFS (translated by Adam Kotsko)

M. Foucault, G. Agamben, J.L. Nancy, R. Esposito, S. Benvenuto, D. Dwivedi, S. Mohan, R. Ronchi, M. de Carolis, Coronavirus and philosophers (European Journal of Psychoanalysis)

John Paul Ricco, For a Governmentality of Ethical Distance (Unbecoming Community) – and other posts on that site; now collected with other pieces by Unbecoming Community

Antonis Vradis, This morning, I woke up in a curfew

And Slavoj Žižek already has a book on this forthcoming, seemingly based on some shorter pieces…

Sophie Harman, Covid-19 Global Health Reading List

Roger Keil, Creighton Connolly and  S. Harris Ali, Outbreaks like coronavirus start in and spread from the edges of cities (The Conversation); along with The Urbanization of COVID-19 (Urban Political Podcast) and this piece at Urban Studies by the same authors

Jana Bacevic, No such thing as society? Liberal paternalism, politics of expertise and the corona crisis (Discover Society)

Simon Dalby, Pandemics, Borders and Crisis in a Globalized World (Balsillie School)

Coronavirus readings by The Syllabus (email signup)

Clive Barnett, What’s Responsibility Got To Do With Anything Anyway? (Pop Theory)

George Francis Bickers and Simone Tulumello on security, borders and coronavirus (podcast on Soundcloud)

Chiara Iacovone, Alberto Valz Gris, Il virus è un prodotto del Capitalocene (Jacobin Italia)

Graham Mooney, Epidemics, Elites, and Public Health (podcast Against the Grain/KPFA)

Abigail Neely & Patricia Lopez, Care in the Time of Covid-19 (Antipode)

Jung Won Sonn, Coronavirus: South Korea’s success in controlling disease is due to its acceptance of surveillance (The Conversation)

Marshall Shepherd, Why Geography Is A Key Part Of Fighting The COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak (Forbes)

Mihnea. 2020. Viral Political Ecology [The Civil Animal, first of 3]

Philipp Sarasin, Mit Foucault die Pandemie verstehen? (Geschichte der Gegenwart)

Thomas Nail, Why a Roman philosopher’s views on the fear of death matter as coronavirus spreads (The Conversation)

Mónica Belevan, Preface/Postscript to the Peruvian exhibition catalogue for the Venice Biennale (Lapsus Lima)

Phil Steinberg, Herding Viruses (personal blog)

Tim Cresswell, Turbulence and Covid-19 and COVID-19, Racism, and the Power of Names (Varve)

Jack Shenker, Cities after coronavirus: how Covid-19 could radically alter urban life (The Guardian)

Clare Holdsworth, Coronavirus: how to deal with a looming lack of life plans (The Conversation)

Luca Paltrinieri, Prove generali di apocalisse differenziata (Antinomie)/Répétition générale d’une apocalypse différenciée (Platforme d’enquétes militantes)

Pier Aldo Rovatti, various Italian essays (etica minima)

Elettra Stimilli, Essere in comune a distanza (Antinomie)

Adam Tooze, Coronavirus has shattered the myth that the economy must come first (The Guardian)

Valeria Pulignano and Claudia Marà, The coronavirus, social bonds and the ‘crisis society’ (Social Europe)

Tim Christiaens, Must Society be Defended from Agamben? (Critical Legal Thinking)

Bruno Latour, Is this a dress rehearsal? (Critical Inquiry)/La crise sanitaire incite à se préparer à la mutation climatique (Le Monde)

Rob Horning, Deserted cities of the heart (Verso blog)

Doug Herman, Shutting Down Hawai‘i: A Historical Perspective on Epidemics in the Islands (Smithsonian Mag)

Miriam Meissner and Federico Savini, Corona and the Climate: 5 Lessons We Can Learn (Save the Planet for Amateurs)

Eliott Grover, What Can Daniel Defoe’s “Plague Year” Teach Us About Coronavirus? (Inside Hook)

Felipe Demetri, Biopolitics and Coronavirus, or don’t forget Foucault (Naked Punch)

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, Foucault And The Politics Of Coronavirus Pandemic (Eurasia Review)

Lee Jones, Coronavirus Is the End of the End of History (Tribune)

Times of COVID-19 (multiple articles, Centre for Science, Technology and Society Studies)

Chuang Collective, Social Contagion

Massimo De Angelis, The Political Use of Parasites (Undisciplined Environments)

COVID-19 Essays (Multiple articles, Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies)

Corona virus and mobility forum (COMPAS)

David Runciman, Coronavirus has not suspended politics – it has revealed the nature of power (The Guardian)

Peter Jones and Rick Stafford, What the Covid-19 pandemic should teach us about governance (UCL)

Jennifer Johnson, We are not the virus (Verso blog)

Adam Quarshie, Solidarity in Times of Crisis (Verso blog)

Angela McRobbie, Our low-paid workers are our lifeline (Verso blog)

The Care Collective, COVID-19 pandemic: A Crisis of Care (Verso blog)

Christine Berry, The COVID-19 pandemic will change everything – for better or worse (Verso blog)

Covid-19: Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (open access content from Wiley-Blackwell)

Giorgio Agamben, Reflections on the Plague (Medium); Riflessioni sulla peste (Quodlibet)

I’ll add more pieces as I see them, or as I’m told about them. Please use comments on this page (now enabled) wherever possible, and provide links please – rather than on Facebook or Twitter.

43 Responses to Geographers, sociologists, philosophers etc. on covid-19

  1. Chiara Iacovone, Alberto Valz Gris, Il virus è un prodotto del Capitalocene (Jacobin Italia)
    (in Italian)

  2. dmf says:
    Historical geographer Graham Mooney reflects on the history of measures like isolation and quarantines — as well as elite indifference to the plight of the poor and working classes during infectious disease outbreaks.
    his book Intrusive Interventions: Public Health, Domestic Space, and Infectious Disease Surveillance in England 1840-1914

  3. Cristina says:

    The best academic take I’ve seen so far by political geographers of health by Abigail Neely & Patricia Lopez: Care in the Time of Covid on the antipode blog

  4. Jung Won Sonn says:

    An article about smart city dimension in South Korea strategy, written by Jung Won Sonn.

  5. simon batterbury says:

    Marshall Shepherd . March 2020. Why Geography Is A Key Part Of Fighting The COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak. Forbes.

    Mihnea. 2020. Viral Political Ecology [first of 3]

  6. Pingback: Geographers, sociologists, philosophers etc. on covid-19 | rotenotes

  7. Michael says:

    Philipp Sarasin published a piece on Covid and Foucault in German at

  8. Hi Stuart. Also see my piece at and Tim Cresswell’s at . I’m hoping to post an additional piece soon on people writing about people writing about COVID (which I guess will also include a reference to people compiling bibliographies about people writing about COVID), so stay tuned.

    • stuartelden says:

      Thanks Phil, both added. I don’t think I have anything useful to say about this, and ended up compiling the list almost by chance – post a few pieces, get some additional ones in comments, and so on. There is certainly a risk in rushing to judgment, and a lot of takes seem to merely confirm people’s existing views. Hope you’re recovering well.

  9. Pingback: Bio-austerity and solidarity in the Covid-19 space of emergency (with A Simone) – a blog

  10. Pingback: Bio-austerity and solidarity in the Covid-19 space of emergency (with Abdoumaliq Simone) – a blog

  11. Raffaele Grandoni says:

    A piece by Luca Paltrinieri is an interesting part of the debate between Agamben, Nancy and Esposito, available both in Italian and French:

  12. Tim Christiaens says:

    Some pieces in Italian:

    -Elettra Stimilli, Essere comune a distanza:
    -Pier Adlo Rovatti, philosophical blog about the lockdown:

    In English:

    -Tim Christiaens, Must Society be Defended from Agamben:
    -Valeria Pulignano & Claudia Marà: The Coronavirus, Social Bonds, and the ‘Crisis of Society’:

  13. Pingback: Ξόρκι / Spell – BON POUR L'ORIENT / ΔΕΥΤΕΡΑΣ ΔΙΑΛΟΓΗΣ / short stories of realism and deceit / σύντομες ιστορίες ρεαλισμού και απάτης

  14. federico says:

    Here a blog post by Miriam Meissner and Federico Savini on what we can learn from the COVID pandemic and its responses.

  15. gglouftsios says:

    Here is a COMPAS forum dedicated to the relation between (im)mobility and the Covid-19 pandemic (facilitate by Biao Xiang)::

  16. filvos says:

    Stuart can you please add our initiative to your list please:
    Thanks, Filip

  17. Ricardo Falcão says:

    Chuang Collective in China published this interesting analysis

  18. simon batterbury says:

    The Political Use of Parasites By Massimo De Angelis (21 March 2020). Undisciplined Environments

  19. Gianfranco Ferraro says:

    Dear Stuart, here a page of Thomas Project Journal, in five languages, chronologically organized and daily updated – it could be useful:
    Thanks for your work and support, and take care!

  20. Ricco’s blog posts have now been collected alongside other pieces by Canadian based scholars of biopolitics:

  21. Pingback: Sexual Care Cultures – Chase Ledin

  22. Clare O'Farrell says:

    Thanks so much for this Stuart, will be posting a notice about this tomorrow on Foucault News. I have now added a new category for “pandemic” on the blog.

    • stuartelden says:

      Thanks Clare – I took a couple from Foucault News. Not sure how long I’ll keep updating this – there is so much being written, and there is a better aggregating site at The Thomas Project. Hope you’re well.

  23. Peter Jones says:

    See our reflections on what the What the Covid-19 pandemic should teach us about governance – Abstract: “Reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic from a governance perspective: when society faces a real crisis that needs strong coordinated action, it looks to the state and scientific/medical experts, along with cooperation amongst civil society backed up by police enforcement. The private sector plays an important role in various ways, such as ensuring food supplies in the face of selfish freeriding panic buyers, but many private sector companies look to the state for loans and bailouts. Some libertarians complain that it’s all an excuse for state control of our lives, but few take this seriously as we face a real crisis that gravely threatens societal wellbeing. We also recognise need for cooperation amongst countries to provide for coordinated international action. Looking back, we can see that the state could have done more to proactively restrict ‘wet markets’ as these appear to be the source of this zoonotic virus. Looking forward we can see that state intervention is likely to be as crucial to promoting economic recovery from the crash following this pandemic as it was after the 1929 crash. When things return to ‘normal’ and calls resume to shrink the state, ignore ‘so called experts’, revert to selfish national isolationism, recognise ‘that there’s no such thing as society’, rely on dynamism of private sector, etc., remember what we relied on to address this crisis. Also, remember these times when we again start to hear arguments that climate change is best addressed through private sector action, that experts can’t be trusted, that the state should not interfere in trying to steer society, that societal behaviour can’t be changed overnight, etc., i.e. it isn’t a corporate Iron Man that is likely to save us”

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