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Accepted Paper:

(Un)expendable citizens – well-being and risk in times of a crisis  
Constanze Tress (University of Luxembourg) Anastasia Badder (University of Cambridge) Deborah Platzbecker (Trier University)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on a range of materials from Luxembourg and Germany, we explore how the coronavirus pandemic has set off sociopolitical processes that create new forms of (in)visibility, reveal existing inequalities, and spur new modes of assessing risk and valuing well-being in economic and moral terms.

Paper long abstract:

(Un)expendable citizens – well-being and risk in times of a crisisKleinman, Das, Scheper-Hughes, Farmer, and others have long argued that definitions of health, illness, and risk are always embedded within particular politics and economics and are at once based on and support differences in power and social positioning. These underlying logics are often rendered invisible as they become part of the fabric of people’s everyday lives. In recent months, however, the global coronavirus pandemic has acted as a catalyst, setting in motion sociopolitical processes and discourses that have created new forms of (in)visibility, emphasized existing imbalances, and made clear the ways in which everyone’s suffering (and well-being) is not regarded as equal. Like many countries, Luxembourg and Germany have instituted policies and made a number of statements about work, risk, and well-being. Considering well-being in the pressing sense of being able to care for life and limb, access infrastructures, and undertake practices that help secure one’s own future, we draw on these discourses and our own interviews with a worker from a German packaging company and a translator in Luxembourg, to illuminate how new categories and assessments of entitlement have been brought about. This paper will examine how well-being in times of crisis is assessed on different and sometimes competing scales, for example when individual well-being and risk is measured against the well-being of a country, and the ways these assessments link the bodies of individuals and groups in ​different social and organizational hierarchies to economic and moral terms.

Panel Heal08a
Well-what? Navigating discourses of 'being well' in medical anthropology and beyond I
  Session 1 Thursday 1 April, 2021, -