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Authors:Cosima Rughinis (University of Bucharest)
Michael Flaherty (Eckerd College)
Paper short abstract:
The social interpretation of the Covid disorder has become increasingly polarized. There are diverging futures, parallel histories, and contrasting versions of the present. Time work is essential for observing the social construction of bifurcated realities.
Paper long abstract:
The social interpretation of the Covid disorder has become increasingly polarized. Argumentative time work (Ciocănel, Rughiniș, and Flaherty 2020) plays an important role in the social construction of contrasting versions of reality and attributions of causality, responsibility, and blame. There are diverging futures: one marked by the uncertainties of coronavirus-related disease and long-term disability, another marked by risks of elites capturing society, through a “Great Reset” of capitalist organization; one energized by hopes in vaccination, another resisting a rushed vaccination campaign that is seen as the ultimate goal of the “plandemic”; one projecting death at unprecedented scale, another projecting herd immunity. There are alternative pasts: one in which we are repeating the mistakes and suffering the fate of the Spanish Flu, another in which we are continuing a tendency of state subjugation to globalization and manipulation from global elites. There are also diverging definitions of the present situation. In one, we are fighting a deadly, highly contagious virus, while in another an illness similar to the seasonal flu is weaponized to infringe on individual freedoms. In one the worst is yet to come, in another we have rounded the corner and we have already vanquished the pandemic. The present in which thousands of people are dying daily from the pandemic co-exists with a present with no real Covid deaths, but just manipulation of evidence. Time work is essential for observing the ongoing social construction of bifurcated realities.
Temporality and (ir)responsibility within crises I