The ‘new regular’, a ‘return to normality’ and even the phrase ‘regular’ itself –the most recent problem of Austrian journal Wespennest explores the various meanings behind the phrase and the way it has been redefined.
As Elizabeth Stephens factors out, ‘regular’ is now a versatile and even contradictory time period. Following the 2016 elections within the US, for instance, calls by these on the political left for a return to regular appeared at odds with longstanding critiques of normativity. Concurrently, the method of ‘normalization’ noticed beforehand irregular or morally aberrant behaviour changing into more and more acceptable. As Stephens writes, ‘The place beforehand the “normalisation” had been primarily used to check with the method of constructing one thing extra regular, in 2016, it was overwhelmingly used to check with the method of constructing the irregular appear extensively acceptable’.
The 2019 bushfires in Australia signalled a ‘new regular’ in line with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whereas the pandemic has left many eager to ‘return to regular’. Slightly than returning to political, financial and ecological techniques of exploitation, Stephens suggests, the normality of the previous may be higher exchanged for a re-imagined, albeit unsure, future.
Flattening the curve
In the course of the pandemic, authorities ministers and scientists have typically visually represented normality within the type of graphs and charts. ‘Flatten the curve’ and we are able to all return to our regular lives – or some semblance of them– so the story goes. Inside this courageous new world of corona-induced normality, ‘curve landscapes’ have grow to be an instrument of energy. ‘The cases proven could also be as totally different as hospital beds and ski slopes,’ writes Jürgen Hyperlink, ‘however the media exhibits us a statistical curve,’ which ‘conjures up confidence as a result of it was fabricated by scientific consultants.’ Hyperlink argues that these indicators of fact are hardly ever questioned, suggesting a ‘new regular’ primarily based on comforting arcs which are coupled and grouped into symbolic visualizations of our current actuality.
Enterprise as common
With governments rising public spending and borrowing to offset the impacts of the pandemic, some have envisioned a extra equitable future. Nonetheless, the precise nature and specifics of corona aid packages might be described as something however clear. Governments are meting out public cash in a hierarchical method that additional entrenches inequality reasonably than assuaging it.
In response to Martin Schürz, the continuing, pandemic-related pressure between public assist and personal earnings might have extra pretty reallocated wealth, but it surely has merely resulted in enterprise as common. As Schürz factors out, ‘Whoever was dreaming of a revitalized welfare state … ought to take a look at information on wealth focus. Billionaires have grow to be greater than US$1 trillion richer throughout the COVID disaster’ – a brand new regular that appears curiously acquainted.
This text is a part of the 9/2021 Eurozine assessment. Click on right here to subscribe to our weekly publication to get updates on critiques and our newest publishing.