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Obedience in times of COVID-19 pandemics: a renewed governmentality of unease?
governmentality by unease, COVID-19 pandemic, digital contact tracing, border closures, border control strategies
This article transects and articulates different disciplines and lines of thought in order to understand the redefinitions of the boundaries of political power in times of COVID-19, and the practices which may outlive the potential normalization of the crisis when an efficient vaccine is discovered. We claim that the COVID-19 pandemic is an original form of governmentality by unease articulating three dimensions. First, the basic reaction of modern states when faced with uncertainty to apply national-territorial logics of controls. Second, bureaucracies consider the virus along the frame of a danger to security and organize public health emergencies according to the rules of the game of national security, creating tensions between internal security, public health and the economy because policy makers may be unsure about the priorities and may have privilege border controls. Third, resistance against the chosen national policies show that people are not led by a politics of fear and-or protection, but rather their own concerns about themselves with a peer-to-peer surveillance based on the denunciation of potentially contaminated persons as one key element of their compliance. Contact tracing technologies and strategies of border controls are key elements to analyze. We do so in different contexts: UK, European Union and Turkey.