Kseniya A. Kukso
St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, St. Petersburg, Russia
The Sociological Institute of the RAS – Branch of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia
PhD in Philosophy
e-mail: email@example.comEpidemic and Action (on the Material of Plague Epidemics of Early Modern Europe)Abstract:
The existential consequences of characteristic for the most severe large-scale epidemics impact – marking of boundaries of knowledge about living things, value indifference and destruction of the paradigms of everyday life are analyzed in the article. Based on the material of Great Plague of London, collective reactions to the structurelessness of life found in an epidemic situation, which the author regards as the radicalizing dimension of epidemic experience, and the existential foundations of the most specific of them (madness, increased interest in various manifestations of the sacred) are investigated. The author determines the reasons of the interest to the approved Christian movements and the demand for various everyday substitutes of magic shown during the period of Great Plague of London, in addition the reaction of existential removal typical of severe epidemics, starting from the Black Death. It is also clarified why the commonness of death characteristic of the studied epidemic, the stability of the presence of its physical manifestations in the urban environment led to various cases of atrophy of subjectivity's's abilities. Also the duality of the effects of the anti-epidemic measures and the medical care established in these cultural coordinates is determined: their limitations in overcoming the reality penetrated by the disease and the tangible practical benefit.
Based on the historical evidence of plague epidemics of early modern Europe the author examines possibilities of overcoming the most difficult epidemic periods, where the persistence of the threat to life is complemented by the emergence of its uncertainty. It is shown that spontaneous and universal voluntary actions of help to the suffering interrupt the closedness of reality caused with the epidemic and carry a chance of resuming of free from disciplinary mechanisms social interactions. The cultural material of the peculiar practices of participation in life of infected embodied this type of action is given.Key words:
epidemic, plague, collective reactions, destruction, structurelessness, uncertainty, Great Plague of London, system of anti-epidemic measures, closedness of the world, compassion, spontaneity, autonomous action, renewal of the social.References:
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Kukso, K. (2020). Epidemic and Action (on the Material of Plague Epidemics of Early Modern Europe). International Journal of Cultural Research, 4 (41), 157–169. DOI:10.52173/2079-1100_2020_4_157