• Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape
  • Abstract Title: The Analogy of Contagion in Race and Neoliberalism: A Tale from South Africa

Bio: Kiasha Naidoo is a Philosophy student and a Fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa.

Abstract: The year 2020 has seen two large social issues come to the fore, the COVID-19 pandemic and racism. In reading contagion and racism alongside one another as they have historically played out in South Africa, we can come to understand the nature of the prevailing neoliberal world order as using race as a mechanism for extractive relations and as one which ultimately remains willing to sacrifice human life and well-being in general. We can consider how assumptions such as individualism and meritocracy have made neoliberal institutions unable to put in place measures necessary for the safety of citizens. Such failures show an inability to promote well-being — the commonly cited impetus of neoliberal capitalist policies and actions.

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