Pandemics as Crisis Performance: How Populists Tried to Take Ownership of the Covid-19 Pandemic
With the Covid-19 pandemic dominating the agenda, it seems almost natural that it be associated with another buzzword: populism. As the pandemic advances, it seems that the prediction of populism surviving the pandemic due to its own diversity has been proved right, given the variation in responses by populists around the world. One common denominator stands out though: populists across the political spectrum understood the benefits of performing the Covid-19 crisis as a tool to strengthen their political positions. They tried to politicize the pandemic to increase the antagonism between the people and the elites. In this article, I introduce the notion of crisis as both a construct and a performance, and as a useful concept to analyze populist reactions to the pandemic. I argue that notwithstanding the attempts to politicize the pandemic, the Covid-19 crisis ended up imposing its own reality. In other words: the crisis could not be owned by politics.
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