Territorial borders and border control are back on the political agenda. Globalization has not led to a world without borders. On the contrary, states have expanded the bordering function by fortifying borders, externalizing border control, and introducing digital “smart borders.” This blog post provides an overview of recent trends in borders and border control. The special issue “Borders as Places of Control. Fixing, Shifting, and Reinventing State Borders” of the journal Historical Social Research expands on these considerations.
The outbreak of COVID-19 provoked a myriad of intriguing sentiments among my friends, me, and others, including a cringey fascination and an ambivalent kind of Eros brought on by the feeling of doomsday. These sentiments changed rapidly into sheer fear and anxiety of the sinister and unfamiliar present time (and future) and provided fertile ground for the emergence and enhancement of nostalgic feelings and practices. Nostalgia (from Greek – nóstos: homecoming, álgos: pain, ache) is defined as missing the past and clinging to it in an idealized and nonjudgmental manner. As such, nostalgia acts many times as a way to cope with a crisis-ridden reality, when the individual yearns for the past — perceived as “simple” — in the face of a chaotic and incomprehensible present.
Digital care: How social support during the Covid-19 pandemic shifted to the digital and our worries became “surplus value”Daniela Krüger
This blog post shows that the Covid-19 pandemic and contact restrictions changed the how and where of exchanging social support with others shifting increasingly to the digital. This may be in part a result of the Berliners’ attempt to create a new private outside. Krüger et al. argue, however, that this new private relies on an illusio of privacy. Especially during the pandemic, they hold, our worries might have become “surplus value” in an unregulated and intransparent market of data on and by us.
The Coronavirus outbreak has had an impact on cities and populations all over the world. Although the virus itself is only a tiny, invisible thing, it has set a challenge for humanity: public spaces in cities have become empty, airports are closed, prayers have been cancelled and people are told to stay home for the first time in our lifetime. As cities are not meant to only satisfy basic human needs but provide crucial physical and social environments for human interaction, the changes the virus has brought to urban spaces have left stark impressions on their inhabitants and vice versa. Our daily habits influence our lives, and the way we act and interact reforms our built environment.
Leaving the house to talk in private. How COVID19 restrictions affected how and where we find someone to talk to.Prof. Dr. Talja Blokland
Talja Blokland, Robert Vief and Daniela Krüger ask how the political measures to slow down the coronavirus, especially by not meeting other people, affected how people organised their support for challenges they faced. Drawing on representative survey results from four neighbourhoods in Berlin in both 2019 and 2020, they show that, before the lockdown, a majority of their respondents communicated face-to-face to confront their most pressing personal challenges and did so outside of their home. Under COVID19 restrictions, digital exchanges became more important – but curiously, they did not make us stay home.
The Corona crisis will change our conditions of observation. The clarification of sociological positioning for observation and interpretation requires a heuristic of subjectivity. Two main figures are shaping this heuristic: the suffering body and the virtual body, connected as well as elaborated through dense internet practices. On the basis of this heuristic the alteration of communicative action can be analyzed.
With the Covid-19 pandemic touching all parts of life, academic research has not been an exception. Even for researchers who are able to maintain access to their field – for instance, through online research – considerable changes in the objects of study force them to rethink their research questions and study designs as they go along. The team behind CRC project B05 “Translocal Networks” reflects on their experiences of conducting a survey of intense Twitter users at the height of the first Covid-19 wave in Jerusalem.