Corporeal Suspicion. Defining an Atmosphere of Protracted Emergency (such as Covid-19)

Tonino Griffero


The paper investigates the kind of collective feeling – or, better, atmosphere – that is generated by the situation of protracted emergency. After asking whether ours is in general an age marked by (media) emergency, what are the structural char-acteristics distinguishing short-term emergency from protracted emergency and to what extent we can speak of an effectively shared collective feeling of “emer-gency”, the analysis focuses on the atmospheric properties of this collective affec-tive situation and shows what are the possible resources to escape from it (at least in part). Irreducible to the classic phenomenological intentionality, the at-mosphere of protracted emergency (whose case study here is that of the COVID 19 pandemic, which is also related to the “terror from the air” theorised by Sloterdijk) proves to be a chaotic situation that establishes with those who experi-ence it a very particular felt-bodily communication, based essentially on narrow-ness and hypochondria. It is an invisible atmosphere of which it is fairly easy to identify the markers on the phenomenal level, whereas it is largely impossible to anticipate the long-term (affective, social, cognitive) effects.


Protracted Emergency; Atmosphere; Situational and Felt-bodily Resonances

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