ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

COVID and SocietySubscribe to COVID and Society

The Coming of Corona

In this personal essay, the author reflects on life at the threshold of the covid-19 pandemic.

​COVID-19 and the Rhetoric of Social Overhaul

Considering the pandemic as social critique gives us clues for how not to think about the overhauling of social systems.

Tropics of Disease: Epidemics in Colonial India

While the scientific understanding of diseases has advanced throughout history, disease as a cultural entity has remained the same in many ways.

Density, Distancing, Informal Settlements and the Pandemic

Demographic density, particularly in the low-income settlements in urban India, is posing some unprecedented challenges to governance for containing the COVID-19 contagion. Through a case-based discussion of density, it is argued that the idea of containment through distancing is rather paradoxical. On the one hand it pushes for more proximation or clustering of the poor in congested urban spaces, while on the other it deepens a sense of estrangement in an already fragmented social milieu.

Walls That Speak

In a time when online education is becoming prevalent, an aspect of it that needs to be discussed is that of social disparities and embarrassments made visible by video conferencing. Visual backgrounds in these conferences can be looked at as a concrete entry point into how the system displaces a large section of students from access to and equity in education.

Locking Down on Rights: Surveillance and Administrative Ambiguity in the Pandemic

As the third chapter of the COVID-19 lockdown in India unfolds, the guidelines provided by the central and state governments remain ambiguous, unclear, and vague. The authors argue that such ambiguity could be strategic. Combined with instances such as the voluntary-but-mandatory use of technological solutions to contain the pandemic, this could effectively put in place a surveillance state that holds in scant regard the civil rights of the citizens it seeks to govern.

Identity of a Disease

The intersections of class, region and other social dimensions that go into the discovery and identification of some diseases as epidemics while relegating other pervasive and lethal illnesses as “ordinary” are examined. In this regard, the lopsided relationship between epistemology and epidemiology is explored in detail. It is argued that the combination of Covid-19 with other diseases (also referred to as co-morbidity), as well as undeclared silent epidemics of several other diseases, require recognition.

Economy’s Immunity against COVID-19

This is in response to the editorial “Economics, Prudence, and a Pandemic” ( EPW , 21 March 2020).

Reading Ambedkar in the Time of Covid-19

What lies behind the policy blindness towards concerns of the oppressed in India? The “social distancing” induced by the COVID-19 health crisis does not address the problem of deeper levels of distancing caused by “social isolation” and “social nausea,” two concepts used by B R Ambedkar. This article is an attempt to understand the factors behind the collective sociopolitical response towards the poorest sections characterised by lack of empathy, and to develop an Ambedkarite framework to understand social policy generally and, more specifically, in India.


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