When lockdowns began, time began to take on a quite different quality. For many of us, days were no longer ordered according to our usual schedules: school drop off, making the train, meetings, teaching, scheduling tomorrow and next week, school pick up, social activity, children's after school activities, and bedtime routines. For some, keeping a routine is something we now have to make an effort to do(though "routine" might still be too generous a term for what our lives have looked like).Other than some scheduled Zoom meetings to focus our attention, getting up, putting together three meals a day, an hour of mandated "exercise" outside, and wine o'clock are what have kept us ticking. It sounds simpler, in a way; relaxed, even, compared to the relentlessness of our ordinary schedules. But it is not. It is not relaxing. It is not ordinary. The lockdown, the shutdown, is more than a rupture of the ordinary. It seems we are experiencing a profound, traumatic break. The conditions of the ordinary, as Jonathan Crary has argued, are "defined by a principle of continuous functioning"(Crary, 2014, p. 8).More specifically, continuous productive functioning. Just functioning isn't enough. And as we now start to face what 'the new academic year' looks like, the profundity of what we have experienced seems to be second to the need to 'get back to work' and maintain our willingness to invest in the competitive practices that fuel the systems we live and work in. Our response to this emerged from making similar observations from our respective contexts (New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Belgium), and is shaped by our work in the field of educational philosophy. Originally published as a blog, this short essay is an attempt to make sense of the way in which academia has responded to these profound changes in how we live and work, to ask what it says of academia that having a say on these matters, matters, and to question the will to provide answers amidst ongoing turmoil.(And, yes, we also acknowledge the irony of our having something to say about people having something to say about COVID-19).
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2020|