Legal Geography

Alemanno, Alberto and Luiza Bialasiewicz, ‘Certifying Health. The Unequal Legal Geographies of COVID-19 Certificates’ (2021) 12(Special Issue 2) European Journal of Risk Regulation 273–286
Abstract: This article discusses some of the challenges posed by the introduction of COVID-19 certificates as a privileged tool to open up mobility and access in order to restore a semblance of normality to social life. While at present there is no international consensus neither on how – or why – such certificates should be used, nor on how they should be designed and applied, a growing number of countries have already introduced COVID-19 certificates in one form or another. Yet the scientific community as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) have expressed caution, noting that such certificates might disproportionately discriminate against people on the basis of race, religion and socioeconomic background, as well as on the basis of age due to the sequencing of the vaccine rollout. Indeed, while the new COVID-19 certificates may appear to promise a magical solution to freeing global mobility and re-opening economies, they actually risk creating new borders and new forms of inequality through an exclusionary sorting and profiling mechanism that delimits ‘safe’ from ‘unsafe’ bodies, based on differential access to ‘immuno-privilege’ – but also differential forms of ‘bio-securitization’. They also provide an illusion of pandemic safety – assuring citizens that through the ‘fetish’ of the certificate ‘safe travel’ could magically be re-instated. Securing territories and populations has always been, in Foucauldian terms, a matter of ‘making a division between good and bad circulation and maximizing the good circulation by diminishing the bad’. We can therefore reasonably expect growing contestation, including before courts, around COVID-19 certificates in their different national and international iterations, as their inherently discriminatory nature, and other unintended consequences such as those stemming from the use of persuasive – as opposed to the more traditional coercive – governmental power, begin to unfold in their performative trajectory.

Rose-Redwood, Reuben et al, ‘Geographies of the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (2020) 10(2) Dialogues in Human Geography 97–106
Abstract: The spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in the most devastating global public health crisis in over a century. At present, over 10 million people from around the world have contracted the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), leading to more than 500,000 deaths globally. The global health crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic has been compounded by political, economic, and social crises that have exacerbated existing inequalities and disproportionately affected the most vulnerable segments of society. The global pandemic has had profoundly geographical consequences, and as the current crisis continues to unfold, there is a pressing need for geographers and other scholars to critically examine its fallout. This introductory article provides an overview of the current special issue on the geographies of the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes 42 commentaries written by contributors from across the globe. Collectively, the contributions in this special issue highlight the diverse theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, and thematic foci that geographical scholarship can offer to better understand the uneven geographies of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

Tedeschi, Miriam, ‘The Body and the Law across Borders during the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (2020) 10(2) Dialogues in Human Geography 178–181
Abstract: Drawing on non-representational theories in geography and beyond, this commentary provides an autoethnographic account of the material and spatial dimensions of the law as well as its effects and affects on bodies in-between two countries, Italy and Finland, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tzouvala, Nina, ‘The Combined and Uneven Geography of COVID-19, or On Law, Capitalism and Disease’ in Barrie Sander and Jason Rudall (eds), Opinio Juris Symposium on COVID-19 and International Law (2020)
Abstract: Extract from Introduction: Francisco de Vitoria was obsessed with food. I do not refer here to his private habits, but rather to the importance he assigned to the consumption of raw food and cannibalism (real or imagined) as markers of savagery. Indeed, imaginaries of cannibalism were central to the imperialist imaginary, including that of international lawyers, and were often mobilised to signify racial difference and justify the domination over and exploitation of non-European peoples. In this respect, there is something familiar about the current obsession and moral panic about Chinese dietary habits and their links to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, there is a crucial difference between present and past obsessions with food in international law and politics, with the former operating as a form of displacement. Let me explain: focusing on Chinese wet markets and eating habits comes with an implicit or explicit attribution of the outbreak to Asian backwardness, primitiveness and (economic, cultural, moral) under-development. However, it is not Chinese backwardness or underdevelopment that render this (and previous) coronavirus so dangerous, but quite the opposite: the country’s rapid capitalist development and increased incorporation into the global circuits of capital.

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