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Lectures

Fit for Purpose? Prime Minister Johnson’s Two Bodies and the UK Better Health Strategy

This article is part of the following series:

Amongst the UK’s current Conservative Government, rhetorically invoking the body politic is common practice. For example, in 2019 Number 10 Special Advisor Dominic Cummings argued that a European reformist faction within the Tory party “should be treated like a metastasising tumour and excised from the UK body politic” while UK Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson deployed the metaphor as a …

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Lectures

What Type of Governmentality is This? Or, how do we govern unknowns

This article is part of the following series:

In Le Temps, a French newspaper, anthropologist Julie Billaud wrote that the governance of COVID-19 represents “a move towards a biopolitical mode of governance that aims to manage human collectives through statistics, indicators, and other measurement tools.”[i] Others are less convinced. Social theorist Joshua Clover has written in Critical Inquiry, a French online journal,that COVID-19 represents not …

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Features

Acting Fatally on the Strength of the Martial Metaphor

George Eliot’s narrator in The Mill on the Floss (1860) reminds us that it is lamentable “that intelligence so rarely shows itself in speech without metaphor – that we can so seldom declare what a thing is, except by saying it is something else.”

But accuracy is not really the problem; it goes without saying that language is limited in …

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Features

Hunger-20: COVID-19 Logistics in West Africa

In Nigeria, as the lockdown began to bite, social media users began tweeting on the hashtag #hunger20. For West Africans, as for many people around the world, hunger closely shadowed the outbreak of COVID-19. While death rates in West Africa remain low, the virus is an abstract threat compared to the hunger that can so quickly overwhelm food insecure households. …

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Features

COVID-19 and China’s Health Code System

The health code system (健康码) that the Chinese government has developed in response to COVID-19 builds upon long established traditions of population surveillance and control. No region in the world has a longer and more sustained history of gathering population data than China. The various regimes that have ruled this region have used civil registers to monitor their populations since …

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Lectures

Feeble-mindedness, depression and obesity: a brief history of eugenics and dietary interventions in Australia

This article is part of the following series:

In October 2019 the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) released a report stating that mental health cost employers $4.7 billion AUD in absenteeism. The report also highlighted significant government expenditure on health services as well as intangible costs on committees. Over the past decade there have also been a number of reports from federal and state governments on the economic and …

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