The traces of virtual spaces: pandemic scars

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Spatial mobility can help enliven social relations as we move from one space to another. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, socio-spatial mobility was severely restricted. My research with a much-ignored group of people, social science postgraduates (PGRs) in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, revealed how, in relative isolation, they were affected by their virtual spaces during the pandemic. My paper discusses my perspective of pandemic scars, the deep and superficial traces left on PGRs caused by existential and academic temporal uncertainties. While virtual spaces during the pandemic were enabling they were also constraining. My paper addressed how did restricted mobilities within virtual pandemic spaces leave traces, scars, on PGRs’ current and future (un)certainties? I will discuss how the present must not be isolated from ontological futures specifically in relation to PGRs.

I will use Bourdieu’s perspectives of illusio (1990) and hysteresis (2000) to demonstrate how the conscious apprehension of previously unconscious spatial arrangements can paradoxically cause and mitigate academic and psychosocial scars which have future trajectories. Amidst PGRs' current and future uncertainties, heightened during COVID-19, postgraduates often experienced institutional isolation which was also wounding. While the traces of virtual spaces were one of several causes of temporal uncertainty, I will argue that they were significant situations that PGRs had to endure, whether positive or negative.

Although my research was conducted during a global pandemic, it has glocal implications to help mitigate the scars of people experiencing varying degrees of precarity.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 03 Aug 2023
Event19th IUAES-WAU World Anthropology Pre-Congress: Anthropology in/of the future - Online - hosted by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Delhi, India
Duration: 02 Aug 202303 Aug 2023


Conference19th IUAES-WAU World Anthropology Pre-Congress


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