A call for contributions to a new themed blog series at SIID.

by Megnaa Mehtta and Nabeela Ahmed

 

Here at the University of Sheffield, as with several universities across the UK, the impacts of COVID-19 were most directly felt at an institutional level, from mid-March onward. However, the timing of reactions, responses and indeed direct experiences of the pandemic have been staggered and differentiated not only across the globe, but within our own communities and across society

 

 

Academics and practitioners the world over are united in thinking about and responding to the global pandemic. In this sense this blog joins several other incredible reflections on COVID-19 and does so by providing one among many important lenses into the dilemmas of society–none of which are new–but which Covid has greatly accentuated. 

While the main news headlines have been dominated by information and stories on a global and national scale – and indeed the times call for it – attention to the more granular perspectives on everyday lives in these ‘extraordinary’ times may have been sidelined. Some lives and places have been disrupted permanently, while for others the impacts are as yet unfolding or yet to be seen, and in some contexts there may have been little change at all.  The notion of “everyday life” itself is contested and predicated on situated and contextualised perspectives and knowledge, but nevertheless deserves attention.  Rather than homogenise, we aim to present an intersection of vastly different experiences within what is typically represented as singular categories of people. 

Against the backdrop of broader structural forces and historical processes, this series foregrounds the ordinary. Our aim is to situate the everyday at the intersection of intimate actions and daily emotions as they interact with the wider political economy, state infrastructures, national and regional governance, the (dys)functions of health systems, and beyond. So what might constitute the ordinary? From routine fears and durable anxieties to small acts of empathy and mutual assistance, from cruelty to care, the ordinary- as this blog series will reveal – is in fact that space which separates life from death – and is in fact in its essence extraordinary. In the coming months, we will be sharing contributions spanning a range of topics including everyday surveillance under COVID in India, to the ongoing continuities of ‘lockdown’ for those in occupied territories, to everyday gendered violence as the other global ‘pandemic’ that increases under COVID.  We look forward to additional contributions to this ongoing themed series that will allow us to respond and reflect on the contemporary moment. 

 

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