Forming concepts is a way of living and not a way of killing life; it is a way to live in a relative mobility and not a way to immobilize life…
Although the relationship between politics and language has been rethought in many different ways throughout history, one of the key moments of language politics as the practice has shown significant resistance to critical interventions. It is the practice of producing concepts. In order to fix reality and order meaning produced concepts retroactively attempt to erase this ‘unpleasant’ process of their creation. Therefore decisions that form certain areas of knowledge and result in different concepts must disappear in the very process of forming dictionaries and lexicons as repositories of meaning. The lexicon thus represents the practice of suppressing the agonistic nature of concepts. But is some other practice of criticism possible, another way of producing knowledge, some other form of lexicon? What type of critique would allow thinking without concepts or thinking that would take into account the process of their emergence, their openness and non-fixation, their ‘mobility’?
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a political event in terms of the effects it produces as well as the way it opens up conceptual rigidities. Previous research on the spread of the virus and the tectonic consequences it leaves on the political vocabulary have not always been accompanied by an examination of the very form of production of that knowledge. The lexicon in front of you is an attempt to create a new critical intervention in the field of (a) pandemic.
The Political Lexicon of Pandemic aims to open a space for the intersections of different discourses and to create a collaborative platform for observing and bringing into dialogue our diverging vocabularies. Its innovation is in the way we approach the production of concepts. Concepts have their own life; they often arise by mistake and unplanned, leaping from one context to another, like an infection, mutating in unexpected and previously undefined directions thereby producing a series of cascading effects. We, therefore, understand lexical entries as places of resistance to the ultimate fixation of meaning, where authors continuously intervene in the production of the concept. This form of lexicon opens up the possibility of a subjectless text that is guided by ideas and practices that are mutational, corrective, collaborative, and in a constant process of dissolution, erases the boundaries between authorship, critique, and intervention. The political lexicon of the pandemic enables the delineation of tangents in that liminal space of meaning in which orientation by the ultimate definition is impossible and the opening of space for new political practice presents itself as a necessity.