Introduction: Moral and Market disordering in the time of Covid-19

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This special issue composed of essays that brainstorm the triadic relationship between Covid-19, Race and the Markets, addresses the fundamentals of a world economic system that embeds market values within social and cultural lifeways. It penetrates deep into the insecurities and inequalities that have endured for several centuries, through liberalism for sure, and compounded ineluctably into these contemporary times. Market fundamentalism is thoroughly complicit with biopolitical sovereignty-its racializing socioeconomic projects, cheapens life given its obsessive focus on high growth, by any means necessary. If such precarity seemed normal even opaque to those privileged enough to reap the largess of capitalism and its political correlates, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic with its infliction of sickness and death has exposed the social and economic dehiscence undergirding wealth in the U.S. especially, and the world at large. The essays remind us of these fissures, offering ways to unthink this devastating spiral of growth, and embrace an unadulterated care centered system; one that offers a more open and relational approach to life with the planet. Care, then becomes the pursuit of a re-existence without domination, and the general toxicity that has accompanied a regimen of high growth. The contributors to this volume, join the growing global appeal to turn back from this disaster, and rethink how we relate to ourselves, to our neighbors here and abroad, and to the non-humans in order to dwell harmoniously within socionature.






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Crichlow, MA, and D Philipsen (2021). Introduction: Moral and Market disordering in the time of Covid-19. Cultural Dynamics, 33(3). pp. 145–161. 10.1177/09213740211014304 Retrieved from

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Michaeline A. Crichlow

Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies

I am interested in projects related to citizenship, nationalism and development mainly in the Atlantic and Pacific regions. My current projects are focused on the sorts of claims that populations deemed diasporic make on states, and how these reconfigure their communities and general sociocultural practices. I am also interested in development's impact on social and economic environments, and the way this structures and restructures people's assessments of their spaces for the articulation and pursuit of particular kinds of freedoms. I have attempted to project these perspectives in my recent book, "Globalization and the Postcreole Imagination: Notes on Fleeing the Plantation" (July 2009) and my current project: "Governing the Present: Vistas, Violence and the Politics of Place" that examines the quests for place and freedoms among populations in the Caribbean, Pacific and South Africa.

I am also an associate research fellow on a project called 50:50 at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, that examines post-independence socio-economic developments primarily in the Anglophone Caribbean, and suggests new ways for rethinking development in the region. As well I am part of a SALISES international working group, on Rural Resilience and Agricultural Development Studies. The Agrarian component of my contribution to these projects, utilizes the arguments and methodology developed in my earlier text, "Negotiating Caribbean Freedom: Peasants and State in Development." Combining the theorizing of creolization in my recent text, "Globalization and the Post-Creole Imagination: Notes on Fleeing the Plantation," with issues of development particularly related to notions of resilience, sustainability, governance, processes of rural "othering," that emerge from this vibrant and highly productive project; I am better equipped to tackle the question of governance, violence, otherness, and the quest for freedoms-subjects centered in my new work.


Dirk Philipsen

Associate Research Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Dirk Philipsen is an economic historian and political economist at the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Department of History.  He also serves as Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and director of both the Regenerative Futures Lab and the Build a Better World Focus program at Duke University. His work and teaching is focused on underlying structural requirements for wellbeing of people and planet.  His research includes economic metrics, the history of capitalism, the role of private property, and the promises of a revitalized commons. 

Raised in Germany and educated in both Germany and the United States, he received a BA in economics (College for Economics, Berlin, 1982), an MA in American Studies (John F. Kennedy Institute, Free University Berlin, 1987), and a Ph.D in American Social and Economic History (Duke University, 1992). He has taught at Duke University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia State University. For ten years, he served as Director of the Institute for the Study of Race Relations at Virginia State University, which he founded in 1997. 

Dirk Philipsen has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Franklin Humanities Center at Duke, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. He has published on the history of modern capitalism, economic growth, the commons, movements for social and economic justice, as well as race and race relations. His first book, We Were the People, chronicles the collapse of communism in East Germany and was published by Duke University Press. Recently, he served as editor and contributor to a volume on Green Business, published by SAGE. His latest work is published by Princeton University Press under the title The Little Big Number – How GDP Came to Rule the World, And What to Do About It (Spring 2015.)

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