International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 329

Article in Press

Africa’s Response to COVID-19: A Governmentality in disguise masterclass?

COVID-19, Foucault, Governmentality, Disciplinary Power Number of words: 12344

  •  Received: 07 November 2020
  •  Accepted: 13 December 2021
At the risk of oversimplification, virtually all recent research that scrutinizes COVID-19 has been propelled by quite identical points of departures which chief in their assessment, portray how the pandemic accentuates the likelihood of illiberal or autocratic regimes to impose and tighten restrictions on civil liberties. This paper is no different as it is predicated along this initial starting point but is also carrying an ambition to bring to light how the pandemic context, perhaps counterintuitively has also provided authoritarian governments with the platform to uptake provisions that signify peace an intricate bundle of human rights and civil liberties in a bid to tame the virus. This paper which is offset by Foucault’s theorizing on Governmentality illuminates on how African governments have responded to the virus in the textbook manner Foucault envisages. The generally advanced idea when it comes to Governmentality is that it is only applicable in Western liberal contexts. This article challenges these claims by looking at African countries response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has enlisted classic governmentality techniques such as disciplinary power, surveillance and power/knowledge monopoly by African states. Given that the right to public healthcare/health is intricately connected to other strands of civil liberties, the paper also shows how African governments bring about a veneer of civil rights and the potential which this vacillation between increasingly authoritarian and considerably liberal approaches in handling the virus generates.