Do you remember what an ordinary day in your life looked like last autumn? Back when Corona was just a below average beer and social distancing described what happened to your attention when an academic at a party started talking about their favourite theorist?
Depending on where you lived, it was probably relatively smooth. Of course, there were many things which probably did not work as well as you would’ve liked them to. Personally, I struggled between many uncertainties: my university leaving the country I live in, the program I direct being de facto suspended for a second time for political reasons, ongoing Brexit unknowns, and the cruel promise that Liverpool might finally win the league this year. All this in Hungary, a state in which services are crumbling and bureaucracy was invented to make people cry. And yet, certainly compared to those of you who have lived or are living through state collapse, things sort of worked.
The diaries, published once a day, spoke to many of the same themes and topics that those writing for Allegra at the time were also concerned with. These included the pandemic-induced changing relationship to the city and its public spaces (Stallone 2020), overwork and under-appreciated invisible labour (Cook 2020), middle-class privilege during confinement (Blanco Esmoris 2020), the need to think about public good, social justice and solidarity in political terms (Billaud 2020) and how anthropologists and social scientists more generally can reimagine our research (Kiderlin, Hjalmarson, and Ruud 2020) and prudently assert our importance in public debate (Beyer 2020).