What is it about?

The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered an unprecedented shock to all of us, both as individuals and as a collective. One peculiar aspect of COVID-19 was that it didn’t always follow a linear timeline—unlike conventional narratives, marked by a definite beginning, a middle section, and an ending that we anticipate. In this chapter, the authors analyze how the story of the virus can be approached and the different plotlines that circulate, as well as how the pandemic has altered our perceptions of time and shaped our expectations of the present and future.

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Why is it important?

We are currently ‘caught’ in what would be the middle section of a linear narrative of the pandemic, with no foreseeable end in sight. Most importantly, the temporality of COVID-19 as a disease—characterized by latency and delays—mirrors how the everyday lives of many have been affected. Since the pandemic started, a lot of people have been forced to spend much more time indoors and alone. Many of us were not prepared to face monotony and solitude every day, and thus the shift in our perception of time caused by the pandemic can pose a great challenge. Despite the negatives, it’s important to recognize how the pandemic could teach us to better appreciate the mundane, the little things, and details of our surroundings and how we spend our time. Ironically, though the pandemic is a massive and extraordinary event, it could help us become more connected and attentive to the small and the habitual aspects of our lives, undoubtedly with assured gains. KEY TAKEAWAY It’s important to focus on the timelines or ‘temporality’ of the virus, and what it means to us, to have a better chance of surmounting the new challenges that arise and understand the temporal modes on which our lives are structured.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: 5 The Tales of a Virus: Corona Temporalities, September 2021, De Gruyter, DOI: 10.1515/9783110744767-006.
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