Guest Editors, Jeremy Hunsinger and Gustavo Esteva, join co-editors Dana L. Stuchul and Madhu Suri Prakash to present this special issue titled, Conviviality for the Day After “Normal.”
The end of an era of “normal”—given a confluence of crises—has arrived. For many millions, the tragic dismantling of their material and social conditions exacerbates the yearning for something—“solutions,” “a return to normal,” “law and order,” “different priorities.” The Covid-19 pandemic (and the prospect of the next pandemic), the legacies of racism/racist policies, climate collapse, gender-related inequities, rising authoritarianism, environmental destruction, epistemic issues, social isolation and polarization and the interconnections of these issues touch every living being, threatening the continued existence of all.
Each of these situations developed within specific contexts and the contexts have themselves become normal. When faced with these problems within capitalism, then capitalism and its neoliberal markets are assumed to provide solutions. Akin to providing oxygen keeping a dying beast alive, such “normality” serves to extend hegemonic control. What’s more, the counterproductivity of institutions beyond a certain intensification—a warning offered by Ivan Illich over 50 years ago—is now laid bare. To address the crises, the time to look beyond the genesis of the problems is now.
Many seek a return to “normality.” But “normality” was the problem. The time has come to leave it behind.