Something eventful this way comes: on pandemics, events and capitalism
Keywords:Badiou, event, COVID-19, contemporary French philosophy, emancipatory politics, global capitalism
Existentially and conceptually the disruptive wake of Covid-19 is different from the kind of problems the global community has weathered in the past. My article draws on Alain Badiou’s notion of an “event”— something unpredictable in its local specificities and radically open in terms of its possible effects—to explore the ramifications of the pandemic. Badiou’s approach is distinctive in that it explores different kinds of social disruption and can help us grasp whether the pandemic might carry the seeds of a revolution. I explore the disruptive effects of Covid-19 by first defining Badiou’s notion of events, and then examine whether Covid-19 fits this definition. I argue that although the current pandemic does not satisfy all Badiou’s criteria, it nevertheless may precipitate an event because of the peculiar way it disrupts contemporary capitalism.
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