Engineering care in pandemic technogovernance: The politics of care in China and South Korea’s COVID-19 tracking apps

Journal Article (Journal Article)

This article critically examines South Korea and China’s COVID-19 tracking apps by bridging surveillance studies with feminist technoscience’s understanding of the “politics of care”. Conducting critical readings of the apps and textual analysis of discursive materials, we demonstrate how the ideological, relational, and material practices of the apps strategically deployed “care” to normalize a particular form of pandemic technogovernance in these two countries. In the ideological dimension, media and state discourse utilized a combination of vilifying and nationalist rhetoric that framed one’s acquiescence to surveillance as a demonstration of national belonging. Meanwhile, the apps also performed ambivalent roles in facilitating essential care services and mobilizing self-tracking activities, which contributed to the manufacturing of pseudonormality in these societies. In the end, we argue that the Chinese and South Korean governments managed to frame their aggressive surveillance infrastructure during COVID-19 as a form of paternalistic care by finessing the blurred boundaries between care and control.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kim, Y; Chen, Y; Liang, F

Published Date

  • January 1, 2021

Published In

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1461-7315

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1461-4448

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/14614448211020752

Citation Source

  • Scopus