Crisis-ready responsible selves: National productions of the pandemic

Shani Orgad, Radha Sarma Hegde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


National governments have played a key role in constructing the Covid-19 pandemic through their communications. Drawing on thematic, discursive and visual analyses of Covid-19 campaigns from 12 national contexts, we show how the pandemic has presented governments with unique conditions for articulating and reinforcing nationalism and neoliberalism. The campaigns frame the pandemic as a force that brings the nation together and conjure up notions of national ‘solidarity lite’ while relentlessly authorizing the crisis-ready responsible citizen. In so doing, they reproduce neoliberal rationality by shifting the locus of responsibility from the state and social structures to the individual and re-inscribing gendered and classed notions of responsibility, care and citizenship. Mobilizing national neoliberal narratives enables governments to render the pandemic legible as a crisis while obscuring both the structural injustices that exacerbate the crisis and the structural changes required to address it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-308
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Covid-19
  • citizenship
  • gender
  • government campaigns
  • nationalism
  • neoliberal rationality
  • responsibilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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