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Saksena, Gitika and Mohanty, Abhishek (2022) 'Information and Liable Relations of Wellbeing During Covid19: an Ethnographic Exploration of Disruption in London.' The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research, 14 (2020-2021). pp. 25-50.

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Abstract

The paper presents a consideration of information as constitutive of the individual experiences of wellbeing, community, and responsibility. Situated in the context of the COVID19 pandemic and its manifestation across the year 2020, the paper traces the multiple and ever-changing epistemological and ontological formations within an online residents’ group set up and run by the local council of a borough in London. The authors note the othering by the group as a mirroring of inherent structural differences and similarities in contrast to the cohesive and essentialized social unit narrative advanced by the local council. Exhortations regarding wellbeing and responsibility in the pandemic are realised and continue to be realised through evolving assemblages of data, information, and probability on the one hand, and testing, tracing, and vaccination on the other. They are in a relation of becoming: manifestly and at once the becoming-data-and-information by the virus and the becoming-data-and-information by the community. In this manner, information constructs liable relations and, consequently, engenders individual responsibility and mutual reciprocity which shape the understanding and experiences of wellbeing. Finally, the paper argues that while information was a measure by the state to build individual responsibility, it was further enmeshed by the group members themselves as community resilience, thus, shaping reciprocity and liable relations amongst them. As Homo Reciprocans, they were (and are) not only the objects but also the subjects of information. This paper is rooted in research which was presented at the 2021 annual conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK (ASA).

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Responsibility, Wellbeing, Information, Community, Relations, Reciprocity
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Open Access Journals > The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research
ISSN: 25176226
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00037052
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2022 10:24
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/37052

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