Many have made the case that the COVID-19 pandemic poses an existential threat to English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and therefore to these jobs, students and institutions. Although this is nominally true, the crisis has revealed the unsustainable and unethical business practices on which ELICOS colleges have always depended.
There is a forgetfulness present in the current crisis as we focus on the terrible tragedies unfolding in Western countries, especially the United States. These places are not the usual sites of such carnage—not on this epic scale.
The crisis triggered by the pandemic will leave in its wake more inequality, more political tension, more militarism and more authoritarianism; social upheaval, civil strife and mass popular struggles will likely escalate.
When the health emergency comes to an end we may be left with a global economy even more dependent on militarised accumulation than before the virus hit, and with the threat that the ruling groups will turn to war.
The Covid-19 crisis has forced a critical question upon us that perhaps, collectively, we have taken for granted: how does our bodily presence, now estranged from almost every other body, shape our social relationships?