The outbreak of Covid-19 and the resultant lockdowns around the globe have problematised the taken-for-granted notions of ‘space’, ‘place’ and ‘movement’, and thrust them into the foreground of discussions – not only in academic circles but also in popular culture, news media, policy making, and politicking. As a result of the recent slew of pandemic-driven restrictions and disruptions of movement, space and place, these very concepts have had to be reconceptualised from radically different perspectives. Through the experience of being ‘trapped’ within a definite location (the home, the social bubble, the care home, etc.) the very notion of a person’s being-in-the-world has been unsettled. The contemporary binaries of indoor-outdoor, work-home, alone-together, technology-nature, have also been called into question by our being both within and between them in this previously inconceivable new world.
Lockdowns differed in intensities, but almost all affected the movement of people, their access to or limitation of space, and the distortion of a sense of place. Lockdown limitations meant that some people were not allowed to leave their residences during specific periods of time. Others were allowed to exercise only within a certain radius of their residence or during certain hours. National borders were closed to non-emergency travel such as for tourism. Sports events, music festivals, art and theatre exhibitions, from informal gatherings to mega events, were cancelled. Some countries saw a complete ban on, or limitation of, fans in stadia, with many high-profile events taking place to empty parks. As it related to those stuck in place, these limitations also created unforeseen consequences such as in the challenges of working from home, having to home school children, the restrictions put on the educative experience, and the subsequent hindrance to the psychological development of children and their experiences of childhood. Furthermore, women and children (in particular) in abusive households were unable to escape their abusers by leaving to school or work, while people in care homes and facilities were unable to receive physical visits from family or friends.
The “normal” sense of personal space was thus disrupted by social distancing rules and norms. This, in turn, dialectically resulted in creative responses to escape the lockdown limitations. There was, at least initially, a rise of online gaming (such as MMORPG’s) as especially younger people desired a sense of interaction with others and movement by proxy. Also prominent was the increase of the digitalisation of varied phenomena, such as streamed weddings and funerals, digital dates, and working from home. Physical and mental stimulation within the confines of the home was reimagined, from garden marathons and online yoga classes to taking up new hobbies (such as bread making or learning to play a musical instrument) and enrolling for open learning classes.
With the relaxing and removal of the limitations, there was also significant increase in the sudden urge to return to nature, as found in the almost oversaturation of outdoor activities, such as hiking, running, camping, flocking to beaches, and various kinds of nature tourism.
It is this context, with its new reflections on consciousnesses of self, this journal edition would like to engage with, as the world prepares for a post-Covid world.
Potential paper topics might relate to place and space as conceived and constructed through specific forms of movement, such as in soma-aesthetics, performance, theatre, sports, care, community, tourism, etc. Or might reflect more broadly on the meaning(s) of space, place and movement in the pandemic lifeworld.
Topics of discussion could include (but are not limited to) the following:
- What does the continuous need to find ways to engage with the outdoors tell us about human nature (e.g. homo ludens)?
- Many people started new exercise regimes, such as yoga, during lockdown – how did that affect their sense of self?
- How do we relate to the outdoors during and after Covid (for example, considering going to the gym or a tennis court, kicking the ball around in the street, or even through MMORPGs)?
- Have the concepts of “indoors” and “home” shrunk with the event of working and exercising from home, or with the closure of restaurants and bars and other social spaces?
- Has there been a reawakening of the appreciation for space?
- Has the deterritorialisation of space and borders led to different forms of experiential nomadism under lockdown?
- Have digital technologies been able to help overcome the existential loneliness of people during lockdown?
- Did digital communication technologies and the work from home phenomenon redefine the notion of being-at-home, and the related sense of privacy from the public realm?
- How has attention been (re-)colonised by the new leisure and culture industries that sprang up during lockdown?
- How do we “escape” from technological saturation?
- How has community engagement, or a sense of community, changed during the pandemic?
- How do fans enact rituals of support in stadia with limited capacities?
The special issue is edited by Gregory Swer & Helen-Mary Cawood. If you have any queries regarding any aspect of the theme or submission process, please contact Helen-Mary Cawood, at email@example.com.
The Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology is an Open Access publication listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) and co-published by Taylor & Francis and NISC (Pty) Ltd. Submit your paper online at https://www.tandfonline.com/ripj no later than June 30, 2021. The Instructions for Authors page on this website has detailed style guidelines. General suggestions for preparing your manuscript can be accessed at https://authorservices.taylorandfrancis.com/publishing-your-research/writing-your-paper/
Please note that accepted articles will attract an Article Processing Charge (APC) of $800 although the journal does have an APC waiver policy in place that will provide relief to authors under certain circumstances. See the website for details.