Politics of Care during COVID-19: The Visibility of China's Anti-Virus Measures


This project employs the concept of care as a lens through which to examine the anti-
COVID-19 measures taken in post-lockdown Wuhan. Based on collaborative research with interlocutors-turned-research and using participatory visual methods, it analyses the visibility of anti-virus measures as a form of government communication inscribed textually and symbolically onto the urban landscape. The state demonstrates its care and capability by implementing highly visible high-tech measures to contain the virus as part of a strategy that elicits nationalist sentiments and positive feelings of cooperation while stigmatising critical voices as uncooperative and unpatriotic. Care is central not only to the functioning of liberal democracies: the Chinese state also relies on narratives about care to showcase the superiority of its political system and to distinguish between desirable and unwanted forms of citizens’ political engagement after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Key publications

Sier, W. 2021. The Politics of Care during COVID-19: The Visibility of China's Anti-Virus Measures. China Information 35(2): 1-27.

Sier, W. 2020. Locked In after Lockdown: Migrant Workers in Wuhan: https://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/2020/locked-in-after-lockdown-migrant-workers-in-wuhan/

Sier, W. 2020. Fijn weekend in Wuhan. (Translation: Happy weekend in Wuhan.) Ethnographic documentary about the impact of Covid-19 on the life of a factory worker in Wuhan, China. View it here: https://www.2doc.nl/documentaires/series/2doc/kort/2020/fijn-weekend-in-wuhan.html

Sier, W. 2020. Wuhan Versoepeld. (Translation: Wuhan Opens Up.) Ethnographic documentary that follows a factory worker during her first visit home after the Covid-19 were lifted in Wuhan. View it here: https://www.human.nl/2doc-kort/kijk/overzicht/2021/aflevering-61.html