Corona, Care, and Political Masculinity: Gender Critical Perspectives on Governing the COVID-19 Pandemic in Austria

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Abstract

»Corona, Sorge und politische Männlichkeit. Eine geschlechterkriti-sche Perspektive auf das Regieren der COVID-19 Pandemie in Österreich«. The article departs from the contradiction that the importance of care for society was publicly acknowledged during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic response of the Austrian government did not challenge the structurally devalued status of care. In order to sustain the hegemonic patriarchal-capi-talist governance of care and social reproduction in the pandemic government actors had to reframe care. We investigate government discourses that normalised its careless crisis management and interrogate the role political masculinity and affects played therein. Based on our analysis of a set of se-lected press conferences held in March 2020, we find that a new mode of ra-tional-affective political masculinity was constitutive of the political management of COVID-19 crisis. With help of this hybrid mode of masculinity, political actors reinterpreted care first and foremost as healthcare and caring for the economy, and as caring for the population in terms of biopolitics. At the same time, caring tasks in the ‘private’ sphere were left to the personal responsibility of individuals and families. In order to generate consent, political actors frequently invoked affects that pertained to risk and danger on the one hand and solidarity and responsibility on the other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-71
Number of pages22
JournalHistorical Social Research
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2021

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 504014 Gender studies
  • 506010 Policy analysis

Keywords

  • CRISIS
  • care for the econ-omy
  • nationality
  • rational-affective masculinity
  • reframing care
  • solidarity
  • Care for the econ-omy
  • Reframing care
  • Solidarity
  • Rational-affective masculinity
  • Nationality

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