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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Centre for International Relations Research (CIRR) Chair Group on History and Theory of International Relations

CIRR-HTIR colloquium - NICOLAS GÄCKLE: "Governing pandemic fatigue"

When:Th 21-04-2022 16:00 - 18:00
Where:Room 1315.0042, Harmonie building & Online

Research colloquium of the chair group History and Theory of International Relations.

Nicolas Gäckle

Governing pandemic fatigue


This contribution traces the onset of ‘pandemic fatigue’ as an analytic of pandemic governance. Culminating in a WHO report in October 2020, ‘pandemic fatigue’ is established as a phenomenon that captures individual and collective demotivation to adhere to protective measures and that articulates a need to establish mechanisms to monitor the experiential life of populations. While ‘pandemic fatigue’ remains tied to biopolitical rationalities, I argue that its urge to go beyond biomedical science expresses a challenging turn to experience within a biopolitical regime. Life is problematised not as a biological given but within its reflexive capability of nurturing lived experience. Pandemic fatigue defines populations through their affective status and potential and understands this experiential layer to be a function of the temporality of crisis. Large-scale behavioural insights studies render experience visible at a collective level. At an underlying level, the WHO’s reading of pandemic fatigue proceeds from seeing the pandemic subject through theories of risk perception and problematizing it in its world-making capacity as a bearer of multiple realities.