Good Models and Positive Mimesis
Thursday May 6th 2021 10:00 GMT
Abstract: My presentation will be on the basis of the ‘Constellations’ paper, (pre-circulated).
I’ll begin with a brief review of two general theoretical paradigms to help us account for both the bad (violent) and good (collaborative) manifestations of the current Covid-19 pandemic crisis by drawing on theories of René Girard and Marcel Mauss. Girard’s theory is used to explain and understand the social and viral contagions and scapegoating violence. As an antidote to pathological mimetic contagion, Mauss’ theory of the Gift helps to account for the positive mimetic responses to the pandemic, from balcony singing and everyday acts of generosity, to state, public health and municipal responses to coronavirus that are characterized by empathy, solidarity and generosity. Then, looking to a post-covid future, I will develop the Maussian-Girardian theme through the work of Nidish Lawtoo and others to look for signs of good models and positive mimesis as hopeful grounds and horizons for economy & society after covid-19.