chapter  9
22 Pages

Informing life: temporal politics of information in the administration of pandemics 1

BySven Opitz

Pandemic emergencies are irreducibly marked by a close interrelation of temporal and informational politics. This chapter delves into the aporia of information at the core of such temporal politics. In a first step, it elaborates how the anticipation of emerging pandemic threats stands in a tensed relation to liberal law. Liberal law traditionally enfolds the epistemological into the temporal in a manner that is diametrically opposed to the political rationality of the 'emergency imaginary'. The chapter concentrates on two very dissimilar political technologies for governing infectious disease: quarantine and computer simulation. It draws on Gregory Bateson's concept of information, quarantine and computer simulation are examined as devices that generate information about a life that is always already in formation. The chapter focuses on the concrete devices designed to extract information from what is in formation brings to light how heterogeneous temporal orientations are being re-assembled in the domain of administrative practices.