The COVID-19 crisis chronotope: The pandemic as matter, metaphor and memory

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Abstract

This article draws on the concept of the chronotope – spatiotemporal entanglements theorized in literary and anthropological studies – and extends the same to an engagement with and an understanding of the experiential and ontological defamiliarization, deceleration and suspension of space, time and security generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article, thus, offers a study of COVID-19 as a connective metaphor and a crisis chronotope – denoting the un-certain space–time marked and defamiliarized by changed orders and vocabularies of presence, distance, trust, tactility and memory – characterizing a world of alienation, insecurity and fear of infection. In arguing how the globality of COVID-19 has ironically informed isolation, incomplete identification and new fiction-formations, while also foregrounding the difference between human time and planetary time, the article will re-examine the crisis chronotope through a study of sudden death and the defamiliarized public space, exemplified in the city of New Delhi during the second wave of the pandemic in April–May 2021.

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Parui, A., & Simi Raj, M. (2021). The COVID-19 crisis chronotope: The pandemic as matter, metaphor and memory. Memory Studies, 14(6), 1431–1444. https://doi.org/10.1177/17506980211054346

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