The Law of the Excluded Middle: Discourse as Casualty of the Post-Truth Extremist Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Yogi Hale Hendlin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The unprecedented World Health Organization orchestrated lockdown and public health measures in response to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic were enacted by virtually every government worldwide. In many countries, but especially the United States, long-standing political animosities congealed into a discourse of dehumanization between liberal establishment adherents and anti-state revolutionaries. Left out from the field were the plural voices fitting neither camp. Mikhail Bakhtin’s lens of Ideologiekritik offers a diagnosis, and the symbolic destabilizing tool of the carnivalesque provides a discursive tool to soften the political polarization and depoliticized technocracy of the coronavirus pandemic state of exception. The conflagration of the global coronavirus governmental response and the often violent counter-responses warrants examining the democratic dangers of dualistic discourses. Disrupting this explosive polarization requires reintroducing plural discursive spaces which widen the conversation to include liminal and oblique perspectives via spectacle and jest—the carnival—providing a potential nonviolent path forward.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLaw, Culture and the Humanities
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021

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