Upping the Anti: Alexis Shotwell

The Virus is a Relation, article by Alexis Shotwell, author of Against Purity

Why contamination and compromise might be a starting point for doing something, instead of a reason to give up

COVID-19 is a virus; it’s also a relationship. Whether people live or die when they get sick depends on webs of social relations, the history of oppression carried in their bodies, what care is made available for them to receive, and so much that we don’t yet understand. One way for us to understand the pandemic is to look at what activities, what practices, it sparks. How might we think about this novel coronavirus as a relationship? If we do this, we can make ethical, political, and ecological evaluations of the relationships we proliferate in response to “the virus.”


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