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Necropolitics Illustrated: the Covid-19 pandemic and...

Thursday, April 6, 2023
4:30 pm
FIMS and Nursing Building (FNB)
Room: 4130

"Necropolitics Illustrated: the Covid-19 pandemic and the photojournalistic images related to Brazil's Bolsonaro"

Presented by: Andrew Melo, PhD student, Media Studies – FIMS, Western University.

Attend in person: FNB 4130
Attend online: Zoom link


This paper explores Achile Mbembe's concept of necropolitics, from Foucault's biopolitics and the issues of sovereignty and control over life and death. Necropolitics is then applied to analyze how the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was portrayed in his response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The country is the second in the world in the number of deaths due to the novel coronavirus, only behind the United States, where former President Donald Trump adopted similar responses. The analysis focuses on the cover photographs of one of the main Brazilian newspapers, Folha de S. Paulo, during the first half of 2021. It is noticeable that the pandemic has more openly exposed already existing social problems that reveal practices of necropolitics. Photojournalism has contributed to the understanding that the President's (in)actions can be framed as the exercise of "necropower", defined by Mbembe as "the contemporary forms that subjugate life to the power of death", to the extent that he minimized the importance of lives and did not contribute to prevent the death of citizens.

The event is part of the Mediations Lecture Series.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
FIMS Communications

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