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How working from home is changing our economy forever

Oxford University Press Blog: “The virus lurks on car door handles, on doorknobs and the floor, on the breath of others or in a friend’s hug, on onions in the supermarket, and on the hands of the valet who parks your car. If you venture outside, everything and everyone is a threat. So, it is better to stay home, safely locked away with your previously disinfected computer which connects you to a world that is innocuous because it’s virtual and therefore harmless. What makes you sick lurks outside your door. The fear of what we know to be real, but which only materializes in suspicion, is enough to keep us locked away. This individual sensation of anguish in the face of a threat leads to voluntary confinement and that is the success of social control. Fear is used as a disciplinary device. The strategies used to make bodies docile for the purpose of social control is what the philosopher and historian Michel Foucault called discipline. In the context of COVID-19, there are those who do not initially choose self-discipline since there is an even higher level of discipline: mass deaths in foreign climes. But those who have yet to discipline themselves will do so once these deaths increase or occur closer to home. China and Korea didn’t wait for the second stage and went directly to surveillance through apps. In the end we have the shocking images of deserted New York and Venice which show that discipline has been successful: Nobody goes out anymore. We initially resist discipline – as Foucault pointed out in the case of schools and the army – but in the end we confine ourselves to the home as an institution of isolation for biopolitical purposes…”

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