COVID-19 and disability (Michael Schillmeier)

By Michael Schillmeier

With COVID-19 we experience the dramatic effects of a cosmopolitical event by which a non-human actor politicizes, i.e. unbuttons the normalcy of the ‘cosmos’ of shared lived spaces, what we take for granted as and what we expect from a globalized life-world. The dynamics of infection unfold an existential learning situation not only of how we live and how we wish to live, but also how we may compose modes of counterinfections to become better ‘equipped’ to keep living well with others. Thinking with Hannah Arendt, Georg Simmel, Georges Canguilhem, Alfred North Whitehead and others, the first part of the paper unfolds a conceptual framework for inquiries into the social complexity of lived embodied spaces and cultures. The idea of counter/infection alludes to the central mode of the social that can be understood as a process of creating and transforming the differences of value relations that may allow or endanger, enable or disable, enrich or limit embodied interaction. With this in mind, the second part of the paper reflects on how issues of dis/abling experiences as they have been portrayed in Space and Culture can be rethought and re-presented as social processes of dis/abling counter/infections.

Read the full article here

The article is part of a special issue, Spaces and Cultures of Quarantine, which can be read online here.

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