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Education and Covid-19: how can we manage change when yesterday is no longer a predictor of tomorrow?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 April 2020

Will Brehm. 

Human life around the world has radically changed in a matter of weeks because of the novel coronavirus, known scientifically as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Some see the possibility of new futures in the making. The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, for instance, argues social distancing is a sign of “respect to others” since everyone, regardless of class, race, gender, or age, must be assumed to have the virus. The virus, in this respect, is a great equalizer and has created types of unity and solidarity (e.g., mutual aid groups) unimaginable during the hyper-individualist, neo-liberal order before SARS-CoV-2. In times of crisis, we might all be socialists.

Others see the exact opposite. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, for instance, argues “the state of emergency” caused by the novel coronavirus “has become the normal condition.” As governments of all types use authoritarian measures in their efforts to stop the virus, humans are left more divided and controlled than ever before. Doctors now decide who deserves a ventilator and who deserves a death sentence, leaving each person to fend for him or herself. In times of crisis, we might all be alone.

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