Discussion – Key Debates, Viewpoints & Interviews

Covid politics – We Have to do Something About It! Agency and Pandemic Mikołaj Pawlak
Covid politics – The Unexpected Victory of the Nation State Agnieszka Bielewska
Covid politics – Pandemic, War Metaphors, and the Process of Civilisation Daniel Arenas
Covid politics – Crisis in the Time of Disaster (Coronavirus) Dr Veselin Mitrović
Covid politics – Morality and Solidarities in a State of Exception Teppo Eskelinen
Covid politics – Your Own Personal State of Emergency José Duarte Ribeiro
Covid politics – Beware of the Ministry of Purity Javier García-Martínez
Covid politics – Reflections on the COVID-19 Rupture: Towards Transformation Angela Martinez Dy
Covid politics – Calling Leaders’ Bluff: The Covid-19 Outbreak and Power Relations in European Societies Matteo Antonini
Covid politics – The Pandemic in Europe's Community of Destiny Stefania Adriana Bevilacqua
Covid politics – Being Tough (Enough?) – Navigating the Limits of Democratic Power in the Coronavirus Crisis Isabel Kusche
Covid Inequalities – Scenarios of Return (im)Mobility and Pandemic Izabela Grabowska
Covid Inequalities – The Butterfly and the Cocoon: The Chinese Community of Prato (Italy) during COVID-19 Laura Leonardi
Beliefs and knowledges – Between a Purifying and Polluting Spoon Milica Resanović
Beliefs and knowledges – The Sound of Silence: The Aestheticization of the Coronavirus in Service of the Production of Knowledge Dr Shirly Bar-Lev
Beliefs and knowledges – Coronavirus, Theodicy and Capitalism Bartholomew A. Konechni
Beliefs and knowledges – Toilet paper and pangolins: Magical thinking during the Covid-19 pandemics David Redmalm
Beliefs and knowledges – Socio-Ecological Mentalities and the Trilemmas of Covid and Climate Dennis Eversberg
Beliefs and knowledges – The Largest Possible Experiment: The Corona Pandemic as Nonknowledge Transfer Matthias Gross
Covid life-courses – Reflecting on Meta-Temporalities in the Study of Youth Futures Within the Covid 19 Pandemic Giuliana Mandich
Covid life-courses – Parents’ Home Office Challenges During the Corona Pandemic Lena Hipp
Covid life-courses – Robots Versus Human Care Workers in Elderly Care: Un-/empathic and Un-/Infected Marcus Persson
Covid life-courses – "My Life in Times of Coronaviruses": Changes in the Everyday Life of Children of Madrid Lourdes Gaitán
Covid life-courses – Alone Together: Biographical Crises in Times of Pandemic Ana Caetano
Life, health, death – Living in a Lockdown: An Opportunity to Enhance Physical Activities? Dr Mihaly Szerovay
Life, health, death – The "Bare Death": Biopolitics and Religiopolitics of Jewish Covid-19 Victims Noa Vana
Life, health, death – Pandemics, Social Sciences and Inequality of Time Cláudio Pinheiro
Life, health, death – The Display of Displaced Care: Funerals in Corona Times Erika Anne Hayfield
Reflections – (Inter)acting in a Different Timeframe Aurianne Stroude
Reflections – Relational Corona Dr. Markus Lange
Reflections – Everything has Changed and Nothing has Changed Hannah Bradby
Reflections – Pandemic Possibilities in Sweden – From a Room with a View Gabriella Wulff
Mediating Covid – Following the #. Italians and ‘Biographical Continuity’ Under Covid-19 Veronica Moretti
Mediating Covid – The Evolution of Fake News in the Context of Coronavirus: First Explorative Insights into the Emergence and Spread of Fake News in Austria Daniela Wetzelhütter
Mediating Covid – Epidemic, Pandemic, Infodemic: A Project in Three Acts Marc Hannappel
Covid Working – Becoming Irrelevant for the System: A Discussion of Terms Elke Hemminger
Covid Working – The Corona Crisis and the Systemic Relevance of Jobs in Germany: Towards a New Appreciation and Solidarity? Paul-Fiete Kramer
Covid Arts – Arts in Finland Sari Karttunen
Covid Arts – The Impact of the Pandemic on Artists: Case Study in Malta Dr Valerie Visanich
Covid Arts – Resisting Pandemics: Balconies, Musicians and Contemporary Lockdowns in Contemporary Spain Kerman Calvo
Covid Arts – The Show Must Go On(line) - Music in Quarantine Alenka Barber-Kersovan
Covid Arts – The State and the Arts in Sweden During the Initial Phase of the Covid-19 Crisis – Less Visible Losses in the Shadow of Lost Lives and Livelihoods Christopher Mathieu
Covid Arts – The Arts in the Time of Pandemic Dr. Olga Kolokytha
Mediating Covid - Covid-19 as a Global Risk and Global Chance Svetlana Hristova

Reflections – (Inter)acting in a Different Timeframe

Issue 46: Pandemic (Im)Possibilities vol. 2 Sun 2 May 2021 0

Aurianne Stroude, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

The Coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we interact, we buy, we cook, we work, etc. It has an effect on our daily routines and also on our perceptions of time. We are stuck in the present. We have no possibilities to predict with certainty what life will be like – at an individual and collective level – in a week, in a month or in a year. Our actions are then settled in this present. Nevertheless, the way we act is more than ever shaped by a long-term future that we are willing and forging individually and collectively. This timeframe shift is very similar to what people aiming at voluntary simplicity live in the process of changing their own lifestyle [1]. The evolution of everyday practices changes the timeframe in which they settle their own actions. They accept the contingency of the future, and focus on their present actions in order to participate in more global and long-term change. In many ways, the experience of deceleration that many of us have been forced to live due to the Coronavirus crisis produces a similar shift in the timeframe of our actions.

Acting in the present

Our (inter)actions in the time of Coronavirus are shaped by the present situation. The people working in hospitals, in post offices, in grocery shops, in farming, etc., are constantly adapting their everyday practices to the official guidelines and to the changing reality they are confronted with. They are experiencing an emergency situation that requires all their energy and focus. Those who are living in isolation are also stuck in the present, not knowing when they will be allowed to hug their loved ones, plan their next holidays, or enjoy a meal with their friends. Although we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow, we know that our actions (and the restriction of our actions) today are crucial.

…for a long-term future

There is no action without the anticipation of its track. An action requires a present state – what we call reality – and a projection of a future state – which is always virtual and formed by our imagination [2]. Even though some of our actions are still shaped by a short-term future projection, like having something to eat in the fridge for the next few days, the timeframe of our actions is stretched toward a long-term future. If we act the way we act now, it is because we want to preserve a long-term future. We are individually and collectively acting in order to avoid a future in which society would collapse [3]. Therefore, our (inter)actions are now settled in a different timeframe. We focus on the present time, but the sense of our daily experience is shaped by a long-term future we are individually and collectively forging, in order to avoid a catastrophic scenario of a societal collapse, largely nourished in our imagination by movies, books and pictures.

Image 1: Accepting the contingency of the future (Copyright by Aurianne Stroude using thenounproject.com)

…for a better future ?

How does this observation help us understand the specificity of the Coronavirus crisis, and what can we learn from it for a better future?

As many observers have already shown, the measures taken to avoid the propagation of the Coronavirus could encourage us to adopt more sustainable practices in many ways. The no-fly movement was anecdotal a few months ago, but it is now a reality for the majority of us. Nevertheless, in order to benefit from this crisis, as an opportunity to transform our daily practices toward more sustainability, we ought to consider the timeframe in which we settle our (inter)actions. Accepting the contingency of the future, focusing on the present, relying less on a short- or medium-term future, and shaping the sense of our daily experience through the imagination of a long-term future, might help us to meet, individually and collectively, the challenge of climate change.


[1] Stroude, A. (2019) De la distanciation à la transition. Enquête sur le processus de transformation des modes de vie dans la société contemporaine. Thèse de doctorat de l'Université de Fribourg, Suisse.
[2] Martuccelli, D. (2014) Les Sociétés et l’impossible. Les limites imaginaires de la réalité, Paris, Éditions Armand Colin, p. 20.
[3] Diamond, J.M. (2005) Collapse. How societies choose to fail or succeed, London, Penguin Books.

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