This article outlines an argument about the morbid character of racism in the time of COVID-19. Drawing on Antonio Gramsci's famous characterisation of the crisis as an ‘interregnum’ in which various ‘morbid phenomena’ appear, we suggest that one of the main underpinning logics of the current crisis could be thought of in terms of racist morbidities. Framing the article within Stuart Hall's reading of Gramsci and David Theo Goldberg's understanding of the postracial, we discuss two empirical cases: the disproportionate morbid effects of the pandemic on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) in the UK – that we name ‘political morbidities’, and the Moscow municipality's measures addressing migrant workers during the pandemic – that we name ‘socio-spatial morbidities’. The COVID-19 crisis, we conclude, seems to elicit racist morbidities in post-racial guises.


Copyright © 2020 European Sociological Association. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy.

Cite as

Murji, K. & Picker, G. 2020, 'Racist morbidities: a conjunctural analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic', European Societies, 23(1), pp. S307-S320. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616696.2020.1825767

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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