Affective cartographies of collective blame: mediating citizen–State relations in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic

Susanna Trnka, Lisa L. Wynn

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Abstract

In both Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia, COVID-19 lockdowns were enforced through public scrutiny of the movements of supposedly ‘irresponsible’ individuals. Denouncing their impact on public health created an affective cartography of collective blame uniting State and society in shared moral indignation. Produced through assemblages of mainstream and social media and government statements, such mediated spectacles engendered a sense of collective unity and shared purpose at a time when both collective cohesion and narratives of individual responsibility were of particular interest to the State. Spatio-temporal maps and diagrams of culpable contagion helped materialise the invisible movement of the virus but also enabled identification of the sick. Some bodies more than others were made to carry the morality of the collective enterprise of stopping the virus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalAnthropology in Action
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s). Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • affect
  • Australia
  • citizen–State relations
  • COVID-19
  • diagrams
  • maps
  • media
  • New Zealand

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