Waiting for the Inevitable

Permanent Emergency, Therapeutic Domination and Homo Pandemicus

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
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Laurence McfallsUniversité de Montréal, Québec, Canada Laurence.mcfalls@umontreal.ca

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4496-4170
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Mariella PandolfiUniversité de Montréal, Québec, Canada pandolfi.mariella@gmail.com

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Abstract

Drawing on twenty-five years of ethnographic observation and reflection on humanitarian interventions’ power practices and on theoretical inspirations from Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze, Max Weber and Ernesto de Martino, we show that, in the current health crisis, new modes of truth, power and subjectivity have emerged in a space between ‘too late’ liberalism (i.e. the final moment of liberalism in which it reveals the inherent impossibility of its promise of prosperity and freedom for all) and ‘too soon’ authoritarianism (i.e. a self-imposed subordination to incontestable biosecurity imperatives). Self-sacrifice, self-imposed subalternity and hopeful, docile acceptance, or alternatively blind rage, in the face of the ‘inevitable’ characterise homo pandemicus, the ultimate liberal subject. Developed on sites of humanitarian intervention, the logic of ‘permanent emergency’ is the regulatory dispositive that perpetuates therapeutic domination on a planetary scale.

En s'appuyant sur vingt-cinq ans d'observation ethnographique et de réflexion sur les pratiques de pouvoir des interventions humanitaires, et inspirés des théories de Foucault, Agamben, Deleuze, Weber et De Martino, nous montrons que, dans la crise sanitaire actuelle, de nouveaux modes de vérité, de pouvoir et de subjectivité ont émergé dans un espace entre le libéralisme “trop tard” (c'est-à-dire le moment final du libéralisme dans lequel il révèle l'impossibilité inhérente de sa promesse de prospérité et de liberté pour tous) et l'autoritarisme “trop tôt” (c'est-à-dire la subordination auto-infligée à des impératifs incontestables de biosécurité). L'abnégation, la subalternité auto-imposée, la docilité naïvement optimiste ou encore la rage aveugle face, face à “l'inévitable” caractérisent l'Homo Pandémicus, le sujet libéral par excellence. Développée sur les sites d'intervention humanitaire, la logique de “l'urgence permanente” est le dispositif régulateur qui perpétue la domination thérapeutique à l’échelle planétaire.

While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic strongly suggests that it is too late to salvage the globalised neoliberal order, it is not too early to detect the emerging (non-)order's contours, for they have been in the making for the last quarter century. Regardless of its immediate causes and of its variously inflected courses across countries and regions, this plague was an accident, or perhaps even the perfect storm, waiting to happen (Caduff 2015). It has exposed the inadequacies of pandemic preparedness as well as the inherent flaws of liberalism not only as an economic and political system, but also as a truth regime and way of life. In the (apparent) short term, the exigencies of combating the health crisis have necessitated economic sacrifice, curbing of civil liberties and dramatic changes in our personal lives. They have also undermined confidence in political, legal, medical and scientific authorities. Nothing, however, endures like the provisional, especially when the provisional has undergone testing in previous (self-made) crises. Or so we wish to argue here.

Drawing on twenty-five years of empirical fieldwork and theoretical reflection on humanitarian, military, political, economic and now health crises around the globe, from its peripheries to its centres, we contend that coronavirus is – bad pun intended – the crowning moment of liberalism's inevitable crisis. It is the moment we all – at least those of in the West or global North who for more than two centuries have fallen for liberalism's promises and pawned them off on the rest of the world in the forms of colonialism, imperialism and globalisation – have been more or less consciously waiting for, much as we today metonymically await the coming disaster, be it the next pandemic wave, climate catastrophe or another populist presidency. More specifically, we intend to show that with the health crisis we are experiencing, in real time, the emergence of new forms of truth, power and subjectivity ushering in an epoch of existential void that screams for a radical rebirth of Western human communities and thought. The genealogy of the crisis that we introduce in this contribution thus necessarily is interdisciplinary and theoretical and seeks to lay the groundwork for a radical anthropology of the contemporary.

Homo Pandemicus

Intuitively, most if not all of us living in what until recently were called advanced liberal societies sense that with COVID-19 we have individually and collectively entered into an anthropological, even existential crisis.1 The scope and speed of a fatal disease spread by our life-giving breath marks a sharper rupture in both liberal and (post)colonial societies with their inherent inequalities than did previous epidemics (Comaroff 2007; Farmer 2020a, 2020b; Fassin 2018). The fundamental categories of our human experience have with real-time awareness shifted: our sociability, our relation to our own bodies and perhaps above all our conception of time have dramatically changed as socially responsible behaviour requires reducing, even cutting off social ties, as we suspect ourselves, usually without cause, to be sick or vectors of infection, and as we live in a here-and-now that recognises a before but struggles to discern an after. This temporal disorientation vividly defines the (post?) human subject whom we call homo pandemicus. Unlike other moments of upheaval which nurture conservative hopes of a return to ‘normal’ or revolutionary aspirations for reinvention, the pandemic suspension of life leaves us in a confounding state of partial timelessness.2 This condition resembles what Andreas Bandak and Paul Anderson in the introduction to this special issue define as the temporality of urgency, which commands immediate action almost as an end in itself. But pandemic temporality also insists on inaction, thus forcing homo pandemicus to ‘hurry up and wait’ and putting him into the double-bind of embracing an authoritarian present in the name of an unlikely future liberation.

Indeed, the precarity of our pandemic predicament recalls what the Italian anthropologist Ernesto de Martino called the ‘crisis of presence’. Working on subaltern peasant societies in southern Italy in the aftermath of the Second World War's physical and social violence and in the context of their rapid, forced modernisation, de Martino's pioneering work in anthropology at home examined mental breakdowns as the result not only of emotional trauma or of psychopathologies, but rather of cultural loss, or of a falling out of history – culture and history being consubstantial as the human capacity for lending meaning and enabling changes to life (de Martino 1964, 1977, 2005, 2015, 2016; Ginzburg 1979, 2016).3 To explain what he calls a loss of presence, de Martino also evokes Martin Heidegger's concept of Geworfenheit (‘thrownness’), the antithesis of Da-Sein. For subaltern groups, but also more generally for anyone in a position of social or economic precarity, the fear of life itself in the face of preprogrammed failure can provoke such loss of self. So too can the eruption into history of intrinsically meaningless natural forces such as death, illness and other cataclysmic events throw individuals or societies out of their dialectical process of (re-)interpreting their world. The (subaltern) subject's fear of losing itself, of drowning in the world is existential, ontological and not psychological; stepping out of history into an altered, ‘metahistorical’ state can thus be protective or even revolutionary. In a recently translated article from 1956, ‘Crisis of presence and religious reintegration’, de Martino summarises:

Thus, because of its failure to go beyond a certain critical content, presence stands on the verge of further becoming, but in a suspended (inattuale) position. The reality of the world appears strange, mechanical, sordid, simulated, inconsistent, perverse, dead; and presence is felt as lost, dreamy, estranged from itself, and so forth.

 The madman is detached from the present, precisely because he cannot fully ‘be-there’ (esserci) in the present, being still anchored or polarized in an undecided critical moment of his own personal history, where the chance of any overcoming is reduced. Thus, the person stands non-dialectically in presence; no longer as an instance of conscious awareness, or active memory, but as symptom. (2012: 434)

Although religious institutions such as ritual mourning or, in marginalised peasant societies, magic can, at the risk of exacerbating suffering, reinitialise cultural/historical presence, crisis symptoms push particular cultural values into their extreme form (de Martino 2015). For the case of homo pandemicus, we can already at least intuitively if not professionally diagnose apparently obsessive-compulsive, hysterical or delusional behaviours and states that latch onto contemporary cultural constructs of the human experience (Pandolfi 2014). Indeed, we can describe homo pandemicus's crisis of presence in terms of the distinguishing traits of other recent homines such as homo zoologicus, homo oeconomicus, homo sacer and homo inscius.4 As the Italian philosopher Emanuele Coccia (2020) argued at the beginning of the first COVID-confinement, the pandemic has thrown into relief the natural fact that human life is a tiny fragment of ecology with the realisation that it is merely the reproductive host for the most minimal form of life, a virus. While raising millenarian hopes (or delusions) for humanity's green rebirth, this zoological conception of human being and the resulting obsessive consumption of virological and epidemiological information reflect the massive incursion of neo-Darwinism and biogenetics into contemporary social thought and popular consciousness (think of the abusive ubiquity of ‘DNA’ and ‘ecosystem’ in media and advertisement). They also relate to the particular survivalism-of-the-fittest of neoliberalism's homo oeconomicus, who does not simply engage in his ‘natural propensity to truck and barter’ but obsesses about his self-perfection as an efficient competitor to the point of becoming his own worst enemy.

To be sure, the pandemic and confinement's material consequences have objectively devastated such homines's self-understanding, but the virulence of debates and protests surrounding lockdowns, mask mandates and forthcoming obligatory vaccinations play to the tensions between the neoliberal actor's collective and individual responsibilities for a high-performance economy and society. Such unbearable tensions also arise within what we call ‘self-homo-sacerisation’, whereby subjects freely subordinate themselves to, or even demand, the suspension of lawfulness as governments indefinitely extend the pandemic state of emergency. As we shall elaborate further below, Giorgio Agamben's theorisation of the arcane figure of Roman law, homo sacer, that is, a subject stripped of legal rights and religious significance, foresaw the generalisation of such juridical (as opposed to zoological) ‘bare life’ exposed to extralegal, non-ritual death with the extension of sovereign rule through states of exception (Agamben 1995, 1998). Agamben, however, did not anticipate its mass self-infliction. Similarly, as individuals today freely accept various tracing and contact apps or, alternatively, embrace the most absurd conspiracy theories, they are pushing the wilful ignorance that defines homo inscius to its paroxysm. Mark Duffield (2019) has brilliantly developed this latest human figure, who abandons all aspiration to overarching, integrated understanding and interpretation of its world, as both precondition for, and product of, government through partial-system design and algorithmic steering. The obliteration of any and all quest for coherency has perhaps been the starkest symptom not only of homo pandemicus's insane loss of presence but also of pandemic government, especially but not exclusively in the United States.

Ethnographic and Theoretical Background

As we have just suggested, the crisis of presence that plagues homo pandemicus has a genealogy. It has emerged from the contradictions within liberalism, though not with a teleological Hegelian or Marxian necessity, of course. (The crisis lurked but was not inevitable – unless our attempt to interpret it fails to reopen human history.) To make this argument, we must first briefly look back on our anthropological and political research on the crises that have befallen liberalism since its default victory in the Cold War, or on the disorder of the ‘New World Order’. Suggesting an awakening of past Balkan conflicts, the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia in fact consolidated if not introduced a novel political actor – the neoliberal ‘international community’, a heteroclite amalgam of shifting alliances among states, international organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics, entrepreneurs, local intermediaries and various experts ‘without borders’. This fluid, ‘mobile sovereign’ corps, or revolving-door nomadic tribe, quickly became the object of Mariella Pandolfi's anthropological fieldwork in Bosnia, Albania and Kosovo and pushed us to theorise the forms of authority being exercised on sites of military and humanitarian interventions in terms of ‘permanent emergency’ and ‘therapeutic domination’ and their mutual reinforcement (Pandolfi 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011; also McFalls 2008, 2010; McFalls and Pandolfi 2014, 2017; Pandolfi and McFalls, 2009, 2014; Pandolfi and Rousseau 2015). The resulting dialogue between ethnographic fieldwork and political theory allowed us to link a philosophical critique of liberalism with important developments in anthropology since the 1980s and thus to understand how the therapeutic biopower that emerged on sites of humanitarian intervention has spread globally, reaching an authoritarian paroxysm under pandemic government today.

Our own ethnographic work has contributed to the rise since the 1990s of the anthropology of humanitarianism, a field for which we cannot here provide a genealogy (Pandolfi and Corbet 2011) but can only point to contributing developments and authors. In fact, the field grew out of both events on the ground (an alarming number of health crises of human and natural origins in the so-called developing world) and practical as well as theoretical critiques of medical anthropology and of the anthropology of development that had dominated the discipline from the 1960s into the 1980s. Among practitioners, for example, Rony Brauman (2002), a long-time protagonist from Médecins sans frontières, pointed to the contradictory, even perverse effects of the life-saving imperative while, in Great Britain, Mark Duffield (2001, 2007, 2019), anthropologist and former director of operations for Oxfam in Sudan, described and decried the convergence of development, humanitarianism and security imperatives. In the United States meanwhile, Arturo Escobar (1999) and James Ferguson (1990) had proffered critiques of the developmentalist project and of its power effects just as medical anthropologists such as Paul Farmer at Harvard were beginning to recognise and to develop their links with large-scale interventions into public health around the world (Kidder 2000). Like Farmer a practising doctor and an anthropologist, Didier Fassin (1996, 2009, 2010) brought together his own field experience around the world with Médecins sans frontières and his reading of Foucault's work on biopolitics to expose the political and moral implications of humanitarian techniques and practices that reduced life to the (medical) management of bodies.

Mariella Pandolfi's fieldwork in the war-torn postcommunist Balkans took the biopolitical anthropology of humanitarianism further as she witnessed the convergence of humanitarian and military practices and technologies, most notably during and after the ‘humanitarian war’ in and for Kosovo. Her firsthand- experience and descriptions of the common clothing, swaggers, gadgetry of (almost exclusively) men whose roles as invaders, liberators, occupiers, saviours and carpet-baggers were virtually indistinguishable led her to recognise a growing ‘grey zone’: the militarised-humanitarian state of exception in which war was peace, security and development stood in stalemate as each required the other to go first, and triage between victims and perpetrators confused the roles of executioners and life savers. Above all, the neoliberal mission to install the proven institutions of civil society, free markets, representative democracy and the rule of law as the panacea for crises denied their activation in the name of humanitarian emergency and its simultaneously accelerated and arrested temporality of urgency. The (almost) unquestionable imperative to save life understood in its most elementary, bodily sense concealed this power regime's evacuation of human life understood in terms of legal, political and social rights.

Already in 1995, Giorgio Agamben foresaw that the temporality of urgency under the permanent state of emergency of Yugoslavia's violent postcommunist dissolution and ensuing interventions would become ‘the new nomos of the earth, which (if its grounding principle is not called into question) will soon extend itself over the entire planet’ (1998: 38). While Agamben analysed this creeping authoritarian state of exception in the juridical terms of the problematic logical relationship between legal order and its foundational violence, we turned to Max Weber's sociology of domination to try to make sense of the unusual form of authority that military and humanitarian interveners and their local staff exercised over distressed populations in the Balkan crises, a form moreover that did not fit into Weber's classic typology of legal-rational, traditional and charismatic modes of legitimate domination (1921–1922).5 By metonymic analogy to the doctor–patient relationship, we have called this new form ‘therapeutic domination’ and the peculiar self-defeating resistance it elicits ‘iatrogenic violence’: a doctor (or any other therapeutic intervener) ideal-typically exercises authority over a patient (or beneficiary) by virtue of her or his expert application of an impersonal treatment protocol in the urgent context of illness (or some other deficiency) or imminent danger thereof. Resistance takes the form of patient non-compliance, or refusal of treatment. This attempt to retake control over one's body and life, however, ultimately reinforces pathology, prompting a redoubling of therapeutic intervention in a self-perpetuating cycle. Since this cycle reproduced both therapeutic domination and states of emergency, we came to understand that the peripheral sites of neoliberal crisis management of the 1990s and 2000s were in fact laboratories for the development of power techniques that would soon migrate to the global centre as, for example, the ‘sick men’ of the Euro-zone underwent benevolent authoritarian cures or, more generally, the planned precarity of neoliberal austerity policies incentivised their victims/beneficiaries to strengthen their ‘resilience’.

This generalisation, under neoliberal crisis management, of therapeutic domination with its impersonal, or rather culturally and historically decontextualising, treatment protocols and with its temporality of urgency that evacuated the future as well as the past has heightened what de Martino (1977) called the universal danger of cultural apocalypse, that is, the dissolution of social ties and the specific cultural meanings on which they rest. What is more, the degeneration of (neo)liberal government into the therapeutic domination-iatrogenic violence cycle of permanent emergency exposed liberalism's underlying false promise. It revealed that atomised, rational, self-interested liberal subjects would never be adequate for, or up to the task of, realising their dream of autonomy, prosperity and security, a chimera that would always require another round of therapy. In other words, their attempts would always come ‘too late’, another apocalyptic formulation that Gilles Deleuze's writings on the cinema suggested to us (Deleuze 1985; Lampert 2009; McFalls and Pandolfi 2017). For Deleuze, redemptive promises, like for us when we run for the pot of gold (cure for COVID) at the end of the rainbow, always come ‘too late’, when reality has already proven them wrong yet without impeding the promise's offer to try again.

The Liberal Promise

Against this general theoretical background, it is possible to situate the epochal significance of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the longue durée of liberalism, the focus of much of Michel Foucault's work in the 1970s. Recent Foucauldian scholarship in anthropology and political science has tended to emphasise liberalism's disciplinary and biopolitical techniques of government (from regulation of population flows to normalised incentive structures) whose genealogy Foucault traced in his books and lectures of the second half of the 1970s (Foucault 1975, 1976, 1997, 2004a). Yet, as Foucault himself argued at the end of his first lecture in his misleadingly entitled 1979 course ‘The Birth of Biopolitics’, understanding those governmental techniques requires an analysis of ‘this general regime that we can call the question of truth’ on which liberalism's governmental reason rests (2004b: 24; our translation).

Although much of Foucault's research examined the late eighteenth-century epistemic rupture that ushered in the empiricist episteme of the human sciences that underpinned liberalism (Foucault 1966, 1975, 1997, 2004a), in The Birth of Biopolitics Foucault (2004b) brought his analysis into the present, exploring contemporary neoliberalism's acute distrust of reason of state as a permutation of liberalism's truth regime. More than a truth regime, of course, liberalism was a discursive formation arising from a complex interplay of knowledge, practices and technologies to create a life form. We can present its genealogy here only schematically, extrapolating moreover from Foucault's analyses of liberalism and neoliberalism to suggest how he might have understood liberalism's perhaps final ‘too-late’ phase. Across these three moments, liberalism has witnessed a transformation of truth, subjectivity and government so profound that only its (specious?) promise of freedom-and-prosperity-for-all papers over.

In opposition to absolutism and its appeal to pure reason, liberal truth in its three permutations is more or less relativist. Supplanting the episteme of representation's non-contradictory logic and hence its certitude, the classical liberal truth regime settled for the probabilistic knowledge of empiricism. In Foucault's terminology, ‘veridiction’, or the ability of nature to speak the truth, replaced omniscient and hence potentially omnipotent (sovereign) reason's ‘jurisdiction’, or right and capacity to pronounce laws. Because truth henceforth originated outside the mind and escaped its mastery, knowledge became partial (in both senses of the word) and pragmatic, its value subordinated to its utility for realising interests. Nonetheless, external, empirical truths such as those of the laws of supply and demand on the marketplace beyond individuals’ intentions, full knowledge and control provided relatively knowable contexts and constraints for human endeavours. Along with the rise of relativist constructivism in the natural sciences, the empirically observable fragility, even improbability of the free market as a natural source of veridiction inspired the epistemological revolution of neoliberalism well before it became an economic and political ideology (Beddeleem 2016). In opposition to the rationalist ambitions of Keynesian demand management and of Soviet planning, early neoliberals defended the market as a locus of veridiction but recognised its ontological status as a social construct whose objective efficiency depended on the subjectivity of those who acted as if it were a force of nature. Such constructivist relativism not only laid the groundwork for activist neoliberal government, as we shall shortly see, but also opened the door to post- or ‘too-late’ liberal verisimilitude. We cannot here offer a genealogy of post-truth and of its different techniques ranging from scenario planning, non-actuarial insurance and post-facto (big) data farming to various virtual realities (cf. Duffield 2019; McFalls 2020), but we can sketch its relations to (d)evolving liberal subjectivity and government.

Like liberal truth, the classic liberal subject struck a certain balance between transcendence and immanence, that is, between abstract reason and concrete interests. As a rational, self-interested actor, liberal homo oeconomicus probabilistically calculated his chances of success as he went about his business. To diminish risks of failure, liberal subjects accepted external and self-discipline to make themselves relatively predictable partners in exchange. Neoliberalism introduced self-doubt into this equation as it shifted the subject from an agent of exchange to one of competition. For the market to produce efficient social outcomes, purveyors of goods and services had to assure themselves and others of their maximal efficiency and productivity. In Foucault's formulation, the neoliberal subject therefore had to become ‘an entrepreneur of the self’ (2004b). The resulting quest for constant (self-)perfection, however, could end only in the (neo)liberal subject's self-destruction as post-liberal individuals, on the one hand, became their own worst enemies, never up to the task, and, on the other hand, had to conceal their inevitable inadequacies behind the mask of marketing and other virtualised self-representations.

In conjunction with liberalism's three moments of truth and of subjectivity, liberal government has gone through three modes of maintaining order – or not. Applied to techniques of government (police, law, taxes, public welfare, environmental protection, etc.), the liberal efficiency principle translated into the doctrine of limited, if not minimal government that abandoned absolutist ambition to control everything and every single subject in favour of a pragmatic quest for probable control of the population as a whole. Such restrained biopolitical ambitions along with cost-benefit analysis's law of diminishing returns tended to leave liberal order on the brink of disorder. Indeed, we might say that liberalism ideally was always on the verge of crisis or, in Foucault's terms, that it sought to find an equilibrium between its ‘culture of security’ and its ‘culture of danger’ (2004b: 68). Neoliberalism went one step further, practising government in crisis. Understanding that market efficiency was neither natural nor spontaneous, neoliberal government intervened in a growing panoply of social and personal activities in order to redress their perpetual inadequacies for market competition, as Foucault (2004b) showed with his analysis of German ordoliberalism and its programme of the social market economy and of American anarcholiberalism and its theory of human capital. With its prescriptions for ‘good governance’ and ‘best practices’, neoliberalism at least promised a potential exit from crisis, unlike ‘too-late’ liberalism's wholehearted embrace of crisis, and even disorder, as a mode of government. Too-late liberal government by crisis pushes neoliberalism's austerity-induced precarity from a purported cure to a permanent condition and celebrates voluntary disruption if not as an end in itself, then as a useful technique for testing and cultivating populations’ and individuals’ resilience, that magically renewable resource of humans under (self-inflicted) hardship. Thus understood as a feature and not a bug of the system, crisis under too-late liberalism does not merely rhetorically evade or conceal liberalism's preprogrammed failure (Roitman 2013) but reveals and even practically celebrates it.

In all three of its moments, liberal government's genius, or art, has lain in its ability to harness individual and collective actors’ autonomy and self-interest to generate (the semblance of) order and progress. Through the indirect rule of incentives, normalisation and self-discipline, it has managed to make liberal subjects bear the costs of government. Even under too-late liberalism's spawning of verisimilitudinous confusion, self-enmity and self-directed survival-of-the-fittest resilience strategies, however, liberal government has not been entirely horizontal nor eschewed reason of state's top-down sovereign control. Along with the protection of property rights and of more or less arbitrary social inequalities (as performance incentives!), the liberal rule of law has always retained the right if not always directly to kill subjects then at least to deprive them of their liberty in perpetuity. Thus, in an important revision of Foucault, Giorgio Agamben (1995) has shown that biopower, in addition to its generally indirect and often informal dimensions, also has a formal, direct juridical dimension that defines bare life as life pared down to the fight for survival. Often expressed metaphorically in the exclusionary, boat-is-full discourse of nationalist populism on the right and in the-promotion-of-difference-is-the key-to-the-well-being-of-all (bio)diversity discourse on the left, the politics of survival6 have, of course, grown to be literal in the time of pandemic. Politics has boiled down to the question of life or death. And this time the question is existential, the fruit of an accumulation of crises that have exploded into the global pandemic.

Pandemic Politics: Between ‘Too-Late’ Liberalism and ‘Too-Soon’ Authoritarianism

In short, we might say that the vertical and horizontal axes of biopower have, for their part, imploded onto a single point: homo pandemicus, that is, completely exposed and completely therapeutised bare life. Whereas therapeutic domination was heretofore exercised primarily on sites of neoliberal humanitarian intervention, the generalisation of states of exception in the name of fighting the pandemic has consummated too-late liberal government by perpetual disorder as the immediate and unsurpassable horizon of contemporary politics. To be sure, as a moment of liberalism, the too-late still holds out the promise of an ‘after’, or rather a ‘before’ as it heralds a ‘return to normal’ while also promoting the eternal present as ‘the new normal’, the future already being now. We can also call this timeless time ‘too-soon’ authoritarianism, a social paralysis whose name we anecdotally derive from the ubiquitous question or claim that it is ‘too soon’ to re/de/confine or, more personally, to visit family and friends, to get a test or to join the resistance.

Too-soon authoritarianism expresses itself through both absolute subordination to and total rejection of expert authority and in doing so reaches the paroxysm of therapeutic domination and its self-sustaining cycle of intervention, iatrogenic violent resistance, self-pathologisation and further therapeutic intervention. Indeed, current pandemic politics that vacillate between ceding all authority to medical expertise and undermining it with crackpot conspiracy theories illustrate the formidable formal structure of therapeutics as a legitimate mode of domination. When opponents of pandemic prevention measures insist that the cure is worse than the disease, quite independently from the possible empirical veracity of their critique, they nonetheless reproduce that domination's claim to legitimacy, namely that in extraordinary times of crisis, impersonal treatment protocols should prevail, even if they are substantively imperfect. In an emergency room, a war zone or a natural catastrophe, rescuers must, in keeping with the (liberal) efficiency principal, respect standard operating procedures without regard for the patient's or the locality's history, culture and non-immediate future. Again, from a Weberian analytical perspective, the substance of claims to legitimate authority, which can be multiple, contradictory, consensual, unfounded and so on, matter less than their form, though their form will have substantive consequences. The formal (i.e. impersonal and ordinary) logic of legal-rational authority, for example, historically brought about the institutions of the modern bureaucratic state, whereas therapeutic domination has favoured more informal, decentralised flexible institutions such as the aptly labelled non-governmental organisation in congruence with the tenets of neoliberal ‘governance’ (McFalls 2010). In the too-late liberal/too-soon authoritarian moment, this institutional fragmentation of authority has accelerated not only with the (post-)Trumpian iatrogenic violence of administrative sabotage but especially with the ongoing compartmentalisation of knowledge and policy, the abandonment of over-arching, integrative theories of social coherence and development, and the rise of data-driven tactical, short-term crisis management in what Mark Duffield (2019) has analysed as ‘posthumanitarian’ government of and by precarity.

Just like knowledge and power, subjectivity under the pandemic paroxysm of therapeutic domination has lost coherence, context and perspective. It, too, has become posthuman as well as posthumanitarian. If humanism credited mankind with a unique capacity to make the world in its own image, the posthuman is at best a life form like any other, at worst a menace to the survival of the planet; if humanitarianism, despite its therapeutic authoritarian excesses, imposed its mission in the name of the unique and supreme value of human life at the cost of subordinating it to its own technical imperatives, the posthumanitarian reduces posthuman life at best to a marketable data point, at worst to an obstacle to his or her own survival. Homo pandemicus inhabits this posthuman, posthumanitarian world, polymorphously but rudderlessly navigating the crisis of presence. He masks his face to protect others, or is it to protect himself? He uncovers his face to restore the truth, but hates those who cover theirs in the name of a different truth. He tears apart social bonds, or practices social (sic) distancing to save society, or alternatively he maintains those bonds at the risk of infecting or killing those closest to him. Either way, homo pandemicus is the ultimate (i.e. both supreme and final) liberal subject in as much as he takes full, individual responsibility for society, which exists only through him and by no superior, collective or political will. He exists as the perfect atom, in perfect anomie, outside of history, outside of culture. He is thus already the madman of de Martino's cultural apocalypse.7

At the same time, and even worse, homo pandemicus is the premier too-late authoritarian subject, or rather post- or non-subject in the sense that he has lost his individuality. In describing him as polymorphous, we did not mean that there are different, distinct types of homo pandemicus, nor that he changes coats like a chameleon. To the contrary, in his multiform, modulated, artefactual if not artificial existence, homo pandemicus is many if not all things at once. This new post-subject yearns to circulate widely but not freely, hopes to carry the mark of antibodies or a vaccination passport, and agrees to download a tracing app or to bear the onus of being a public menace. Like homo sacer whose bare life stood on the threshold of legal and zoological existence, homo pandemicus teeters on the frontier between zoological death and virtual life and thus amplifies the precarity of Agamben's figure.8 His total loss of control to the algorithms, to the apps, to the artifices and to the waves that traverse and carry him leave him grasping for the shards of his prior individuated existence with its potential (or perhaps only illusion?) of self-determination. Perhaps this is why he clings to identity politics, be it of the left or the right, as the dying throes of the liberal subject as he slips into the madness of loss in the face of total social and cultural collapse.

Homo pandemicus does not of course suffer from mental illness. His madness, as we have seen with de Martino, is pure symptom, the expression of the existential crisis of presence. COVID-19, by contrast, is truly a disease, but it is also a symptom, the current and perhaps perfect expression of the complex dispositive of too-late liberalism. The virus, to be sure, is in itself entirely indifferent and exogenous to the modes of knowledge, power and subjectivity, and to the technologies and social practices that have been emerging over the past quarter century. The COVID-19 pandemic has, however, brought to a head, as we have seen, these trends. Pragmatic, probabilistic truth has given way to speculative, plausibilistic, even fantastical post-truth that leaves expertise an empty shell. Therapeutic domination has abandoned its pretensions to cure social ills to become a primordial biopolitics of life and death. Subjective self-doubt has yielded to self-enmity even as new technologies for virtual self-representation strip away humanity and sociability. The kernel of these developments resided in liberalism along with its promise of freedom and prosperity for each and all from the beginning. Homo pandemicus now awaits the inevitable: a promise unkept.

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for its support of their research over the past twenty years.

Notes

1

The ongoing nature of the global pandemic with its regional and social permutations, the varied public health and political responses it has elicited, and all of their unforeseeable outcomes compels us, at the time of writing, to focus our ethnographic and political observations on the European and North American societies in which we experienced the pandemic and in which we have conducted fieldwork over the past decades. Our theoretical interpretation of the pandemic as a global crisis of (neo)liberal government draws on our own and our collaborators’ fieldwork on different sites since the 1980s and on our readings and interpretations of the vast body of critical theoretical work on the neoliberal ‘new world (dis)order’.

2

We can conceive of this pandemic (a)temporality through the three forms of time that the ancient Greeks represented through the divinities Chronos, Kairos and Aion (cf. Pandolfi 2017). Chronological time has of course not ground to a halt; in a sense its sequencing and ordering of events has grown more obvious as lockdown, quarantine and deconfinement protocols and calendars colonise our bodies and minds. Sequences of events (‘one damn thing after another’, as Henry Ford famously misdefined history), however, have no intrinsic meaning. Only the temporality of Kairos lends interpretive significance to actions and events, making them timely or opportune relative to the cultural values that result from and make human historicity. Yet in times of pandemic, cultural creation and interpretation cannot unfold not only because of the urgent tyranny of Chronos but also because of the arbitrariness of Aion. Compared by Heraclitus to the moment a child knocks down its construction of blocks, aionic time ties the immediacy of the present to the indeterminacy of the eternal as the now and the forever stand outside of time. Aion marks the beginning of an emergent epoch and anticipates its possible end (whence the etymology of ‘eon’) but does not belong to this becoming.

3

De Martino was a politically engaged anthropologist inspired by Antonio Gramsci (Pandolfi 1992) and his analysis of subaltern groups’ potential for counter-hegemonic cultural resistance. In the 1950s and until his untimely death in 1965, he was among the first critics of anthropological exoticism, initiating the practice of ‘anthropology at home’ and developing the method of ‘critical ethnocentrism’ (Saunders 1993). Of particular interest to us here was his practice of bringing anthropology into dialogue with the philosophy of crisis, as developed notably by Sartre, Camus and Heidegger, in order to understand the inequalities and crises that cut across subaltern populations. Presented posthumously (de Martino 2016 [1977]), de Martino's concepts of ‘cultural apocalypse’ and ‘the end of the world’ while anticipating the current existential crisis of homo pandemicus do not subscribe to a negative teleology but rather leave open the possibility of renewal. We have attempted here to bring de Martino into dialogue with a later generation of critical thought, namely with Foucault, Deleuze and Agamben.

4

Mark Duffield (2019) has elaborated the latter figure, whose naming he credits to Bernard Stiegler, whereas homo sacer has become the subject of a multi-volume study that Giorgio Agamben launched in 1995 in an eponymous first volume. Our particular use of homo zoologicus derives from Agamben's (1995) distinction drawing on Aristotle between biological (politicised) life and zoological (‘merely’ animal) life. As for the familiar figure of homo oeconomicus, we have in mind Foucault's (2004b) analysis of his morphing from a liberal agent of exchange to a neoliberal entrepreneur of the self.

5

For a more detailed exposé of Weber's typology and our extrapolation of a fourth ideal-typical form and of the modes of rationality (affective, habitual, axiological and instrumental) that it draws on, see McFalls (2010). In brief, Weber argued that those who command seek to consolidate their authority based on objective means of enforcement with subjective appeals to the legitimacy of their orders. His typology of legitimate domination does not classify according to the substance but rather to the form of claims to legitimacy. Specifically, his typology refers to the personal or impersonal nature of authority – does the dominating actor claim authority by virtue of her or his person or through appeal to an impersonal rule or norm? – and to the enduring, ordinary quality of his or her authority or to its extraordinary nature in rupture with existing norms and practices. Thus, a traditional ruler exercises personal and ordinary authority as, for example, legitimate heir to the throne; a charismatic leader commands loyalty by virtue of her or his extraordinary personal qualities; and a bureaucrat enjoys respect through the impersonal application of a longstanding rule valid for all. Missing from this typology is the imposition of impersonal rules under extraordinary circumstances, or what we call therapeutic domination.

6

Political ethnographer Marc Abélès (2006) has developed the concept of the politics of survival as a breakdown of the quest for collective goods, drawing notably on the example of the stalling and reversal of European integration.

7

Unlike various Hegelian ‘ends of history’, de Martino's cultural apocalypse is not a catastrophist teleology or eschatological theology. It refers to a rupture in or with history understood as entirely open-ended process of cultural (re)interpretation. Such indeterminacy, however, also means that the apocalyptic, aionic chance for rebirth/re-set need not occur.

8

Although the pandemic has massively contributed to the permanent propagation of digital communications technologies that have ‘virtualised’ social interactions and individual identity constructions, our term ‘virtual life’ goes well beyond such technical facilitators (which even a traditional organic subject can adopt) to describe the epistemological and ontological statuses of the emergent post-subject, namely a figure that understands itself through the plausibilistic episteme of verisimilitude and no longer atomistically as a paricle but subatomically as a wave or energy level. In our perspective, ‘virtual life’ politically expands critical dialogue with Agamben's key concept of ‘bare life’.

References

  • Abélès, M. 2006. Politique de la survie. Paris: Flammarion.

  • Agamben, G. 1995. Homo sacer: il potere sovrano e la vita nuda. Turin: Giulio Einaudi.

  • Agamben, G. 1998. Homo sacer: sovereign power and bare life. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

  • Bandak, A. and P. Anderson 2022. ‘Urgency and imminence: the politics of the very near future’, Social Anthropology 30(4): 117.

  • Beddeleem, M. 2016. ‘Le projet scientifique d'un renouvellement du libéralisme: le néolibéralisme de 1933 à 1973’, doctoral dissertation, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brauman, R. 2002. L'action humanitaire. Paris: Flammarion.

  • Caduff, C. 2015. The pandemic perhaps: dramatic events in a public culture of danger. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

  • Coccia, E. 2020. ‘La terre peut se débarrasser de nous avec la plus petite de ses créatures’, Le Monde 4 April: 25.

  • Comaroff, J. 2007. ‘Beyond bare life: AIDS, (bio)politics, and the neoliberal order’, Public Culture 19: 197219.

  • Deleuze, G. 1985. Cinéma 2: L'image-temps. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.

  • de Martino, E. 1964. ‘Apocalissi culturali e apocalissi psicopatologiche’, Nuovi Argomenti 69–71: 105141.

  • de Martino, E. 1977. La fine del mondo. Contributo all'analisi delle apocalissi culturali. Torino: Einaudi.

  • de Martino, E. 2005. The land of remorse: a study of Southern Italian Tarantism, trans. D. L. Zinn. London: Free Association Books.

  • de Martino, E. 2012. ‘Crisis of presence and religious reintegration’, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 2: 434450.

  • de Martino, E. 2015. Magic: a theory from the south, trans. D. L. Zinn. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press/HAU Books.

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Duffield, M. 2001. Global governance and the new wars: the merging of development and security. London: Zed Books.

  • Duffield, M. 2007. Development, security, and unending war. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • Duffield, M. 2019. Post-humanitarianism: governing precarity in the digital world. Cambridge: Polity.

  • Escobar, A. 1999. ‘The invention of development’, Current History 631: 382396.

  • Farmer, P. 2020a. Fevers, feuds, and diamonds: ebola and the ravages of history. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

  • Farmer, P. 2020b. ‘We know how to confront the coronavirus pandemic – expert mercy’, Boston Globe 19 March.

  • Fassin, D. 1996. L'espace politique de la santé. Essai de généalogie. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

  • Fassin, D. 2009. ‘Les économies morales revisitées. Étude critique suivie de quelques propositions’, Annales 6: 12371266.

  • Fassin, D. 2010. La raison humanitaire, une histoire morale du temps présent. Paris: Seuil-Gallimard.

  • Fassin, D. 2018. La vie: mode d'emploi critique. Paris: Seuil

  • Ferguson, J. 1990. The anti-politics machine: ‘development’, depoliticization, and bureaucratic power in Lesotho. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Foucault, M. 1966. Les mots et les choses. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Foucault, M. 1975. Surveiller et punir. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Foucault, M. 1976. Histoire de la sexualité, I. La volonté de savoir. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Foucault, M. 1997. Il faut défendre la société. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Foucault, M. 2004a. Sécurité, territoire, population. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard

  • Foucault, M. 2004b. Naissance de la biopolitique. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Ginzburg, C. 1979. ‘La Fine del mondo di Ernesto De Martino’, Quaderni storici 40: 228248.

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  • Kidder, T. 2000. ‘The good doctor’, The New Yorker 10 July: 4057.

  • Lampert, J. 2009. Theory of delay in Balibar, Freud, and Deleuze, in J. Bell and C. Colebrook (eds.), Deleuze and history. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McFalls, L. 2008. ‘Les fondements rationnels et sociaux des passions politiques: vers une sociologie de la violence contemporaine avec Weber et Foucault’, Anthropologie et Sociétés 32: 155172.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McFalls, L. 2010. Benevolent dictatorship: the formal logic of humanitarian government, in D. Fassin and M. Pandolfi (eds.), Contemporary states of emergency: the politics of military and humanitarian interventions. New York: Zone Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McFalls, L. 2020. Postliberalism in international affairs, in K Giesen (ed.), Ideologies in world politics. Heidelberg: Springer.

  • McFalls, L and M. Pandolfi 2014. Therapeusis and parrhesia, in J. Faubion (ed.), Foucault now. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • McFalls, L. and M. Pandolfi 2017. Too-late liberalism: from promised prosperity to permanent austerity, in P. Bonditti, D. Bigo and F. Gros (eds.), Foucault and the modern international: silences and legacies for the study of world politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 1992. ‘Beyond Gramsci and De Martino: contemporary medical anthropology in Italy’, Medical Anthropology Quarterly 6: 162165.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2003. ‘Contract of mutual indifference: governance and humanitarian apparatus in Albania and Kosovo’, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 10: 369381.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2008. Laboratory of intervention. The humanitarian governance of the postcommunist Balkan territories, in M.-J. Del Vecchio-Good, S. T. Hyde, B. Good and S. Pinto (eds.), Postcolonial disorders, 157186. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2010. From paradox to paradigm: the permanent state of emergency in the Balkans, in D. Fassin and M. Pandolfi (eds.), Contemporary states of emergency. The politics of military and humanitarian interventions, 104117. New York: Zone Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2011. Humanitarianism and its discontents, in E. Bornstein and P. Redfield (eds.), Forces of compassion between ethics and politics. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2014. Percorsi del disorientamento. Dal conflitto individuale, al conflitto globale, in M. Pandolfi and L. Faranda (eds.), La salute mentale e il paradigma geopolitico: Itinerari critici per un'etnopsichiatria radicale. Rome: Aracne editrice.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2017. Troppo presto, troppo tardi Αἰών: il tempo indefinito dell'evento. Naples: Electa Musée de Capodimonte.

  • Pandolfi, M. and A. Corbet. 2011. De l'humanitaire imparfait. De l'anthropologie médicale à l'humanitaire. Ethnologie française 41: 465472.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. and L. McFalls 2009. ‘Intervention as therapeutic order’, AM. Rivista della Società italiana di antropologia medica 27–28: 91111.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. and L. McFalls 2014. L'intervento come ordine terapeutico, in G. Pizza and H. Johannessen (eds.), Il corpo e lo stato. Perugia: Morlacchi editore.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. and P. Rousseau 2015. Governing the crisis: a critical genealogy of humanitarian intervention, in A. De Lauri (ed.), Humanitarianism, 1732. London: I.B. Tauris.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roitman, J. 2013. Anti-crisis. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Weber, M. 1921–1922. Wirtschaft und gesellschaft. Tübingen: Mohr.

Contributor Notes

LAURENCE MCFALLS (Laurence.mcfalls@umontreal.ca) is Professor of Political Science at Université de Montréal, where he directs the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies and the International Research Training Group ‘Diversity: Mediating Difference in Transcultural Spaces’. In addition to his research collaboration and publications with Mariella Pandolfi on the subjects of military-humanitarian interventions and the critique of neoliberalism and its therapeutic mode of domination, McFalls has worked on the social theories and epistemologies of Max Weber and Michel Foucault. He is co-creator of Open Memory Box, an online ‘anti-archive’ of home movies offering an intimate social history of East Germany. McFalls holds a doctorate from Harvard University and was awarded the German Federal Republic's Cross of Merit in 2016. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4496-4170.

MARIELLA PANDOLFI (pandolfi.mariella@gmail.com) is Emerita Professor of Anthropology at Université de Montréal, where her research and teaching focused on contemporary theories in anthropology, medical anthropology, body politics, violence and social passions, humanitarian and military intervention in post-conflict and post-communist Balkans. She is the co-organiser of the seminar ‘Tracés critiques transatlantiques entre ruptures et impostures’ at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales de Paris (EHESS). Her passion for opera inspired her to create, in collaboration with Laurence McFalls, the seminar and lecture series ‘Music and Politics’. Trained as a philosopher and a psychoanalyst, Mariella Pandolfi holds a doctorate in anthropology from EHESS. She was awarded the Montreal Prize for Women of Distinction in 2002, the Italian Republic's Cross of Merit in 2012 and the Beyond-Horizon Prize of the Scarlatti Music Academy in Naples in 2021.

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  • Abélès, M. 2006. Politique de la survie. Paris: Flammarion.

  • Agamben, G. 1995. Homo sacer: il potere sovrano e la vita nuda. Turin: Giulio Einaudi.

  • Agamben, G. 1998. Homo sacer: sovereign power and bare life. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

  • Bandak, A. and P. Anderson 2022. ‘Urgency and imminence: the politics of the very near future’, Social Anthropology 30(4): 117.

  • Beddeleem, M. 2016. ‘Le projet scientifique d'un renouvellement du libéralisme: le néolibéralisme de 1933 à 1973’, doctoral dissertation, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brauman, R. 2002. L'action humanitaire. Paris: Flammarion.

  • Caduff, C. 2015. The pandemic perhaps: dramatic events in a public culture of danger. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

  • Coccia, E. 2020. ‘La terre peut se débarrasser de nous avec la plus petite de ses créatures’, Le Monde 4 April: 25.

  • Comaroff, J. 2007. ‘Beyond bare life: AIDS, (bio)politics, and the neoliberal order’, Public Culture 19: 197219.

  • Deleuze, G. 1985. Cinéma 2: L'image-temps. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.

  • de Martino, E. 1964. ‘Apocalissi culturali e apocalissi psicopatologiche’, Nuovi Argomenti 69–71: 105141.

  • de Martino, E. 1977. La fine del mondo. Contributo all'analisi delle apocalissi culturali. Torino: Einaudi.

  • de Martino, E. 2005. The land of remorse: a study of Southern Italian Tarantism, trans. D. L. Zinn. London: Free Association Books.

  • de Martino, E. 2012. ‘Crisis of presence and religious reintegration’, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 2: 434450.

  • de Martino, E. 2015. Magic: a theory from the south, trans. D. L. Zinn. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press/HAU Books.

  • de Martino, E. 2016. La fin du monde: essai sur les apocalypses culturelles, translated critical edition, Charuty, D. Fabre and M. Massenzio. Paris: Éditions de l'EHESS.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Duffield, M. 2001. Global governance and the new wars: the merging of development and security. London: Zed Books.

  • Duffield, M. 2007. Development, security, and unending war. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • Duffield, M. 2019. Post-humanitarianism: governing precarity in the digital world. Cambridge: Polity.

  • Escobar, A. 1999. ‘The invention of development’, Current History 631: 382396.

  • Farmer, P. 2020a. Fevers, feuds, and diamonds: ebola and the ravages of history. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

  • Farmer, P. 2020b. ‘We know how to confront the coronavirus pandemic – expert mercy’, Boston Globe 19 March.

  • Fassin, D. 1996. L'espace politique de la santé. Essai de généalogie. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

  • Fassin, D. 2009. ‘Les économies morales revisitées. Étude critique suivie de quelques propositions’, Annales 6: 12371266.

  • Fassin, D. 2010. La raison humanitaire, une histoire morale du temps présent. Paris: Seuil-Gallimard.

  • Fassin, D. 2018. La vie: mode d'emploi critique. Paris: Seuil

  • Ferguson, J. 1990. The anti-politics machine: ‘development’, depoliticization, and bureaucratic power in Lesotho. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Foucault, M. 1966. Les mots et les choses. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Foucault, M. 1975. Surveiller et punir. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Foucault, M. 1976. Histoire de la sexualité, I. La volonté de savoir. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Foucault, M. 1997. Il faut défendre la société. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Foucault, M. 2004a. Sécurité, territoire, population. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard

  • Foucault, M. 2004b. Naissance de la biopolitique. Paris: Seuil/Gallimard.

  • Ginzburg, C. 1979. ‘La Fine del mondo di Ernesto De Martino’, Quaderni storici 40: 228248.

  • Ginzburg, C. 2016. ‘Genèses de La Fin du monde de De Martino’, Gradhiva 23: 194213.

  • Kidder, T. 2000. ‘The good doctor’, The New Yorker 10 July: 4057.

  • Lampert, J. 2009. Theory of delay in Balibar, Freud, and Deleuze, in J. Bell and C. Colebrook (eds.), Deleuze and history. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McFalls, L. 2008. ‘Les fondements rationnels et sociaux des passions politiques: vers une sociologie de la violence contemporaine avec Weber et Foucault’, Anthropologie et Sociétés 32: 155172.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McFalls, L. 2010. Benevolent dictatorship: the formal logic of humanitarian government, in D. Fassin and M. Pandolfi (eds.), Contemporary states of emergency: the politics of military and humanitarian interventions. New York: Zone Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McFalls, L. 2020. Postliberalism in international affairs, in K Giesen (ed.), Ideologies in world politics. Heidelberg: Springer.

  • McFalls, L and M. Pandolfi 2014. Therapeusis and parrhesia, in J. Faubion (ed.), Foucault now. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • McFalls, L. and M. Pandolfi 2017. Too-late liberalism: from promised prosperity to permanent austerity, in P. Bonditti, D. Bigo and F. Gros (eds.), Foucault and the modern international: silences and legacies for the study of world politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 1992. ‘Beyond Gramsci and De Martino: contemporary medical anthropology in Italy’, Medical Anthropology Quarterly 6: 162165.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2003. ‘Contract of mutual indifference: governance and humanitarian apparatus in Albania and Kosovo’, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 10: 369381.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2008. Laboratory of intervention. The humanitarian governance of the postcommunist Balkan territories, in M.-J. Del Vecchio-Good, S. T. Hyde, B. Good and S. Pinto (eds.), Postcolonial disorders, 157186. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2010. From paradox to paradigm: the permanent state of emergency in the Balkans, in D. Fassin and M. Pandolfi (eds.), Contemporary states of emergency. The politics of military and humanitarian interventions, 104117. New York: Zone Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2011. Humanitarianism and its discontents, in E. Bornstein and P. Redfield (eds.), Forces of compassion between ethics and politics. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2014. Percorsi del disorientamento. Dal conflitto individuale, al conflitto globale, in M. Pandolfi and L. Faranda (eds.), La salute mentale e il paradigma geopolitico: Itinerari critici per un'etnopsichiatria radicale. Rome: Aracne editrice.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. 2017. Troppo presto, troppo tardi Αἰών: il tempo indefinito dell'evento. Naples: Electa Musée de Capodimonte.

  • Pandolfi, M. and A. Corbet. 2011. De l'humanitaire imparfait. De l'anthropologie médicale à l'humanitaire. Ethnologie française 41: 465472.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. and L. McFalls 2009. ‘Intervention as therapeutic order’, AM. Rivista della Società italiana di antropologia medica 27–28: 91111.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. and L. McFalls 2014. L'intervento come ordine terapeutico, in G. Pizza and H. Johannessen (eds.), Il corpo e lo stato. Perugia: Morlacchi editore.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pandolfi, M. and P. Rousseau 2015. Governing the crisis: a critical genealogy of humanitarian intervention, in A. De Lauri (ed.), Humanitarianism, 1732. London: I.B. Tauris.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roitman, J. 2013. Anti-crisis. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Weber, M. 1921–1922. Wirtschaft und gesellschaft. Tübingen: Mohr.

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