Building Community under Conditions of Fractured Citizenship: The Covid-19 Crisis and the Politics of Hope in East London.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The ways governments deal with the pandemic and communicate the crisis with their constituencies have created new fault lines in the practice of citizenship. During the first lockdown in the UK, we have witnessed ‘the blitz spirit’ called on by the government to combat the virus. The responsibilisation of the individual paved the way for the renegotiation and circulation of shared ideas regarding which individuals/social groups are entitled to belonging and presence and which are stigmatized/ and/or scapegoated. Drawing on an analysis of online community forums and a virtual protest in the borough of Barking and Dagenham in London during the first wave of the lockdown, we will outline social media representations regarding the ‘civilized’/responsible/taxpayer citizen (who happens to be White British) as opposed to the ‘parasitic/virus-like’ migrant/foreigner who puts lives in danger by failing to obey legal restrictions. In the second part of the presentation, we explore how grass roots community organisations advocating for refugee and migrant populations succeeded in building community under conditions of extreme adversity and largely in the absence of state intervention. We argue that the lockdown helped assert moral geographies of citizenship in ways that are aligned with an exclusionary nationalism in the country, while at the same time DIY forms of community have managed to build new networks of solidarity offering an important corrective and a counter-narrative of hope and unity in the face of adversity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCentre for Citizenship Studies Wayne State Univ/Univ of Edinburgh
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2021
EventCitizenship in Pandemic Times - Wayne State University/Edinburgh University, Detroit, United States
Duration: 1 Jun 202014 Jun 2021


ConferenceCitizenship in Pandemic Times
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

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  • Covid 19
  • Pandemic
  • Citizenship
  • London
  • Black Lives Matter

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