Governmentality Versus Community: The Impact of the COVID Lockdowns

Claire Wallace*, Lucia Mýtna Kurekóva, Margarita Leon, Jacqueline O'Reilly, Constantin Blome, Margarita Bussi, Becky Faith, Mark Finney, Janine Leschke, Chiara Ruffa, Emma Russell, Mi Ah Schøyen, Matthias Thurer, Marge Unt, Rachel Verdin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The COVID lockdowns were characterised by new forms of governmentality as lives were disrupted and controlled through the vertical transmission of biopolitics by the state. The paper considers how this was experienced by academics in 11 different countries through analysis of diaries written during the first lockdown. The paper asks if communities can offer an alternative to governmentality by looking at three levels: the national, the neighbourhood and the personal. Whilst at a national level the idea of community was instrumentalised to encourage compliance to extraordinary measures, at the local level community compassion through helping neighbours encouraged horizontal connections that could offer a “space” within the dominant logic of governmentality. At the level of personal communities, the digitalisation of social relationships helped to create supportive networks over widely dispersed areas but these were narrowly rather than widely focused, avoiding critical discussion.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Community Well-Being
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)223-240
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 9 May 2023.


  • Community participation
  • Community well-being
  • Governance
  • Technology and well-being

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