From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Keywords, again: provisional reflections from a situated perspective

Claudia Gualtieri


Covid-19 has abruptly broken into people’s lives and has caused disease and death that, with uneven impact and consequences, have affected the living conditions and cultural behaviours of human societies worldwide. In the Global North, death has entered people’s lives anew and invited a pause, a re-thinking about the precariousness of human existence and the (in)ability to deal with it, practically and emotionally. Facing this major event in the history of culture and society, the urge of a culturalist’s analysis advises us to examine the output of thinking and argumentation through the interdisciplinary perspective of a conjunctural approach – as theorised by Stuart Hall and Lawrence Grossberg – which attempts to identify and interpret the multiple trajectories and forces that shape crisis and change in society. This article will observe the Covid-19 conversation through the lens of selected keywords. A crucial crossway in the tradition of cultural studies is how major changes in the relationship of culture and society have been interpreted through the emergence and/or revision of keywords. Building on this analytical stance, the article will focus on some keywords as a constellation of relations that, from a situated perspective, provide indications of current drives of change and of future challenges that have emerged during the spread of Covid-19. The topic of this article is indeed emergent and as yet under-theorised. Therefore, the discussion – as a starting point of a larger project – will develop into a conversation with a selection of materials that have most stimulated my interest and concern.


cultural studies, immunity, freedom, racism, death, migrant labour, imagination



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