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Passport to Neoliberal Normality? A Critical Exploration of COVID-19 Vaccine Passports

TELFORD, Luke, BUSHELL, Mark and Hodgkinson, Owen (2022) Passport to Neoliberal Normality? A Critical Exploration of COVID-19 Vaccine Passports. Journal of Contemporary Crime, Harm, and Ethics, 2 (1). pp. 42-61. ISSN 2752-3799

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Abstract or description

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic governments across the world including in France, Canada, Lithuania, Austria, Italy, and Ireland imposed ‘vaccine passports’ on the premise that they would curtail transmission of the virus, reduce COVID-19 related mortalities, and enable society to return to neoliberal normality. However, vaccine passports raise several issues that have not been given sufficient attention within the social sciences. Vaccine passports should be of criminological and zemiological concern because of their harmful consequences upon social
relations, surveillance implications, as well as how they aid a return to neoliberal normality with all its criminogenic implications from corporate boardrooms to zones of permanent recession. Therefore, this article offers a critique of vaccine passports. It is structured into three key themes: (a) scientifically and ethically problematic, (b) the death of the social and the ‘Other’, and (c) digital surveillance and freedom. The paper begins by exploring how vaccine passports make little
scientific sense and further entrench some unvaccinated peoples’ sense of political and medical mistrust. It then discusses how they amplify social divisions, creating the unvaccinated Other in society and intensifying the neoliberal shift towards a post-social, contactless world. The article closes with an outline of how vaccine passports were cast as enabling a return to neoliberalism and freedom, hinging upon an assumption of harmlessness while cementing the negative ideology of capitalist realism.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. • Non-commercial – You may not use the material for commercial purposes. • No Derivatives – If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. • No additional restrictions – You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19, neoliberalism, vaccine passports, vaccine, post-social
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Sociology, Criminology and Terrorism
Depositing User: Mark BUSHELL
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2022 14:42
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 14:04

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