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Life Under Lockdown 

My work on social and political responses to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is informed by my prior research on citizen-state relations during states of emergency (in Fiji) as well as my work on the politics of respiratory health (in New Zealand and central Europe).


I am in process of exploring various facets of life under lockdown. This includes consideration of how citizens are not merely passive recipients of lockdown measures but may take an active role in constituting states of emergency (see my article, "Rethinking States of Emergency” in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale.) 

I have also written about how lockdown reveals the centrality of movement in our lives and the importance for anthropology in examining movement more broadly, and explored how affective communication changes during lockdown.

In collaboration with Sharyn Graham Davies, I have been thinking through the implications of NZ’s “bubble” policies, in particular the dangers of assuming that the members of a single residence compose a single household, and are most often members of the same family – for more details, see our article in The Spinoff, as well as our 2021 chapter in Covid-19: Global Pandemic, Societal Responses, Ideological Solutions (edited by M. Ryan).

Focusing more globally, I have explored how Czechs managed to engage in mandatory wearing of face masks when there weren’t enough face masks to go around and the meanings of citizens' involvements in "pandemic policing."


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2021. Trnka, S. “Be Kind: Negotiating Ethical Proximities in Aotearoa/New Zealand during COVID-19.” Cultural Anthropology. 36(3): 368-380.

2021. Strong, T.P., Trnka, S. and L.L. Wynn. “‘L'enfer, c'est les autres': Proximity as an Ethical Problem During COVID-19.” Cultural Anthropology. 36(3): 342-349.


2021. Trnka et al. “Negotiating Risk and Responsibility: Affect and Ethical Reasoning in New Zealanders’ Lived Experiences of Lockdown.” Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. COVID-19 supplement


2020. “Rethinking States of Emergency.” Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale. Special theme section. “Covid-19 Forum.” 28(2). May 2020. 


 2020. “Lessons from Lockdown: On the Importance of Movement.” ASAA/NZ Blog. 29 June

 2020. “Lockdown: The Centrality of Movement in Our Lives.” Cornell University Press Blog. May 29, 2020.

 2020. “The Challenges of Recognizing Collective Affect Online.” Anthropology News website. June 5.

 2020. w/ S.G. Davies. “Bursting the Bubble Fallacy: Lockdown and the Problematic Concept of ‘Home.’” The Spinoff. 29 April. 

 2020. Long, N., et al. “Living in Bubbles during the Coronavirus Pandemic: Insights from New Zealand.” “Living in Bubbles during the Coronavirus Pandemic: Insights from New Zealand.” Rapid Research Report, London School of Economics. May 14. 

 2020. “First in Masks? How Czechs Wore Face Masks When There Weren’t Any Available.” Somatosphere: Science, Medicine and Anthropology. July 21

2020. “From Lockdown to Rāhui and Teddy Bears in Windows – Initial Responses to Covid-19 in Aotearoa/New Zealand.” Anthropology Today. 36(5):11-13.

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