05 Jul

Making Sense of the Post-Covid World: Continuities and Changes

Elisio Macamo (Universität Basel)


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Joint Lecture Series
Making Sense of the Post-Covid World: Continuities and Changes

26 April 2022 – 19 July 2022
Tuesdays 1:00 p.m. (Rio de Janeiro), 6:00 p.m. (Berlin and Hamburg)

The pandemic has produced ambivalent consequences for social life. Intersectional inequalities, combining, class, ethno-racial, citizenship, and gender inequalities, both between and within countries, grew during the pandemic and became even more difficult to be mitigated in the post-covid world. At the same time, the global virus has irrefutably revealed the high level of interdependency between different social groups, world regions, as well as between human and nonhuman living beings. However, this did not lead to more solidarity at the national and global level as individualistic and antagonistic responses to the pandemic have created and exacerbated divisions and divides. At the same time, these glaring problems came to the fore and demands to tackle them have grown.

This series of lectures seeks to discuss these ambivalent and long-lasting effects of the pandemic on societies: What has been the impact on social inequality and how does this affect the transformation prospects especially of poor countries? What is the impact of the global virus on world politics? How have the pandemic affected the sense of solidarity at the local, national, and global level? How does the global experience of living with and fighting the pandemic affect the treatment of issues concerning the planet’s common future, such as climate change?

To address these questions, the Institute for Social and Political Studies (IESP/Rio de Janeiro), the Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS/ Hamburg) and the Institute of Latin American Studies (LAI /FU Berlin) have invited eight experts from different fields of social sciences to give digital lectures followed by debates with the audience. The lectures will take place between April and July 2022 and will be interposed by internal preparatory sessions at each of the organizing institutes. The series of events is funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation within the framework of the Anneliese Meier Research Award conferred to Prof. Domingues, one of the convenors of this lecture series.



05 July 2022:
The Pandemic as Disaster: African Perspectives, Elisio Macamo (Universität Basel)

When is the pandemic a disaster? Lessons for Africa on how not to  Copy the West It has become a truism to claim that there are no such things as natural disasters. This serves to remind that disasters are always a function of how a society appraises risks. A critical insight from the sociology of risk and disasters draws our attention to the epistemological implications of this truism. It consists of the idea that disasters are phenomena that count as something specific in a particular context. The purpose of my lecture will be to deploy this insight in the discussion of the conditions under which Covid-19 became a disaster in Africa. My claim is that it became a disaster because African governments defined it in European terms.

Elisio Macamo is professor of sociology and African studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland. He worked on disaster and risk for many years and these issues continue to be an abiding interest. However, his most recent work focuses on methodological issues, especially on how knowledge production on Africa can help us improve the disciplines.

Registrations via zoom.