What Hannah Arendt can teach us about work in the time of Covid-19

Professor Lyndsey Stonebrodge
Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge

According to the government, we are now supposed to be getting back to work. But what does “work” mean in the time of Covid-19?  Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge from the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) at the University of Birmingham writes for the New Statesman.

In her article, Lyndsey argues that the philosopher’s distinction between work and labour should guide our attempts to build a better society in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Although, as feminists have noted, the labouring necessities of life Arendt described are also descriptions of traditional women’s work. The labour of keeping human bodies alive over the past three months has, in the main, been done by women and, at great cost, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people.

To conclude, Lyndsey poses the question of whether now would be a good time to reimagine a different and more human political future and how we might get back what Arendt terms ‘the human condition’.

Lyndsey Stonebridge is an Interdiscipinary Chair and Professor of Humanities and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Placeless People: Writings, Rights and Refugees” (2018). Her forthcoming book on Hannah Arendt will be published by Jonathan Cape.

Read Lyndsey’s full article in the New Statesman

Find out more about IRiS research