People all over the world are currently facing an experience that is unprecedented on such a scale: a global pandemic whose outcome and end are not foreseeable. Ebola, malaria, SARS – these continue to be devastating epidemics that mainly occur in Africa and Asia. Corona, however, affects everybody everywhere – bringing about drastic changes to their lives by limiting social contacts and mobility.
Populations around the world should perceive the Corona pandemic as a chance to take a truly global view on health issues for the first time Hansjörg Dilger
Some countries seem to be coping better than others, at least in some respects: South Korea, for example, which has already had to deal with the SARS-CoV-1 virus and the MERS virus. Countries like South Africa or the Democratic Republic of Congo have also experienced dangerous epidemics with HIV/AIDS and Ebola respectively.
"Populations around the world should perceive the Corona pandemic as a chance to take a truly global view on health issues for the first time and to benefit from the experience of others in containing the virus, for example through mobility restrictions. We should ask ourselves what could be transferred to our own country as well as what is not transferable – and how we can jointly master challenges such as the distribution of the vaccine," says social and cultural anthropologist Hansjörg Dilger, professor at the Free University of Berlin. So far, he says, a "together" of global North and global South is hardly discernible.
Who bears what consequences?
Together with partners from South Korea, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as at the Universities of Bayreuth and Halle, Dilger wants to realize the project "Mobility Regimes of Pandemic Preparedness and Response: The Case of Covid-19", which, due to its comparative perspective, is expected to yield interesting results. The ethnographic study aims to examine the different approaches to restricting and monitoring mobility. It raises the question of the social, economic and political consequences and examines what individual or collective price has to be paid for the frequently harsh restrictions on freedom of movement.