BIOPOLITICS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: DILEMMAS OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND FREEDOM

stmm. 2021 (2): 181-196

DOI 10.15407/sociology2021.02.181

OLEKSANDR STEGNII, Doctor of Sciences in Sociology, Leading Research Fellow at the Department of Methodology and Methods of Sociology, Institute of Sociology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (12, Shovkovychna St., Kyiv, 01021)

o.stegniy@gmail.com.

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7829-127X

The article considers the problem of maintaining a balance between the need for public safety and protection of civil liberties in a coronavirus pandemic. The theoretical works of Michel Foucault on biopower and biopolitics, the feasibility of using a biological model of government to organize modern government measures to combat the spread of the pandemic are analyzed. The global scale of the spread of the coronavirus brings biopower to a fundamentally higher level of subordination. Modern biopolitics should be understood as political rationality, which assumes the management of life and population as a subject. Modern biopolitics should be seen as a strategic coordination of national governments and the global community, to determine the potential ability of government agencies to regulate and regulate biological hazards, including the spread of infectious diseases. Effective international cooperation in overcoming the pandemic is hampered by "vaccine nationalism", the use of vaccine production as a tool of geopolitical competition. Biopower determines the individual well-being and self-awareness of people, significantly affects social ties, promising adequate protection against pathogenic influences, epidemiological threats to health. The introduction of strict restrictions on movement, quarantine measures is proclaimed by the authorities as the need to break the chain of epidemiological infection. The unconditional importance of biosafety as a component of public security determines the consent of citizens to the restriction of their freedoms, to which they did not previously agree. From this point of view, there is a fundamental possibility of implementing a democratic biopolitics in a pandemic. n Ukraine, the attitude of public opinion to the restrictive measures of the government is determined by the effectiveness of compensatory proposals for small businesses, primarily the ability to save jobs and minimize fiscal pressure. The danger of the COVID-19 pandemic for modern Ukrainian society lies not only in the large-scale epidemiological crisis, but also in the danger of provoking foreign government decisions. In this socio-political context, the weight of arguments in favor of the spread of preventive measures without suspension of economic activity, namely the conduct of a permanent information campaign among the population on the rules of conduct in a pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, biopower, biopolitics, public safety, epidemiological danger, restriction of civil liberties

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Received 15.04.2021