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Geopolitics of Power and Knowledge in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Decolonial Reflections on a Global Crisis

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni
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Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni: Department of Leadership and Transformation, University of South Africa, Pretoria

Journal of Developing Societies, 2020, vol. 36, issue 4, 366-389

Abstract: This article offers a provisional decolonial reading of the crisis created by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The article performs five interrelated tasks. The first task addresses the question of knowledge and theorizing during exceptional moments. A decolonial case is made for seeking mitigations and solutions to COVID-19 based on the African knowledge and epistemologies from the Global South. Africa in particular and the Global South in general have the richest histories and experiences of epidemics and pandemics. This moment of the COVID-19 pandemic raises questions about the geopolitics of knowledge (which historical archive do we run to, who should learn from whom, and which epistemology is privileged?). The second task is to outline how the triple concepts of paradox, crisis, and crossroads (PCC) can help us to gain a better understanding of the issues cascading in this moment of the COVID-19 pandemic. The third task is a critique of lockdowns as knee-jerk reactions in Africa, since they are not sustainable, and they impinge on life, security, freedom, and economy in fragile African environments. The fourth task is to introduce 10 Ds of the decolonial turn —Deimperialization, De-Westernization, Depatriachization, Deracialization, Debourgeoisement, Decorporatization, Democratization, Deborderization, Decanonization, and Desecularization—which help in envisioning a post-COVID-19 decolonial world order. The final task is to propose decolonial love as the soul of the post-COVID-19 world order based on a new ethics for living together, economies of care, a politics of conviviality, and hospitality as opposed to enmity. Africa in particular and the Global South in general constitute the author’s locus of enunciation.

Keywords: COVID-19; conviviality; crisis; crossroads; decolonial turn; decolonial love; economies of care (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sae:jodeso:v:36:y:2020:i:4:p:366-389

DOI: 10.1177/0169796X20963252

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