The Atmosocial Condition: Lecture by Sven Opitz

Sven Opitz delivered a lecture on ‘The Atmosocial Condition: Ecologies of Breath After COVID-19’. It was chaired by Awadhendra Sharan.


In summer 2020, it became widely acknowledged that SARS-CoV-2 infections do not occur exclusively via contaminated objects and respiratory droplets but also through the inhalation of virus-laden aerosol particles. This talk asks whether the epidemiological significance attributed to airborne transmission holds a conceptual lesson for Sociology. It argues that the debate forces us to understand air as a social medium, indicating that social activities not only proceed in but through atmospheres. This “atmosocial condition” will be characterized along three axes: the limits of territorial ordering, the entanglement of the elemental with the affective and a revised understanding of what it means to interact.

Sven Opitz is Professor of Political Sociology at Philipps University Marburg. With a background in social theory and Science and Technology Studies, his research focusses on global health security and biopolitics after the microbial turn. 

Awadhendra Sharan is Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Friday, 4 February 2022, 5 pm, Zoom