Editorial statement

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…

Michel Foucault

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.