Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


A window into chaos? Covid-19 and the new temporal order of capitalism

Speakers: Arjun Appadurai (NYU), Jens Beckert (Cologne), Rahel Jaeggi (Humboldt) Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou (UCL) and Linsey McGoey (Essex)

window chaos

26 January 2021

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This discussion follows a podcast on Concepts for the 'New Normal'. #1 Speculation available here

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How do our late capitalist societies imagine their future under conditions of chaotic uncertainty? What does the Covid-19 crisis reveal about our fractured experiences of time in an already precarious and anxious present? To cope with the moment’s queasy volatility, societies need narratives orienting them towards an imagined future. From complex epidemiological forecasts and market volatility indices, to social media’s predictive algorithms and anti-vax conspiracy theories, the narratives on offer today can seem increasingly opaque and disorienting. Rather than offering more clarity, they often compound existing uncertainty, therefore opening 'a window into chaos'. What epistemological ruptures with past assumptions are rendered possible by this opening? This panel event tries to make sense of these developments in the temporal order of capitalism and their implications for critical thinking during the current crisis.


  • Arjun Appadurai (Paulette Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University)
  • Jens Beckert (Professor of Sociology and Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne)
  • Rahel Jaeggi (Professor of Practical Philosophy, and Director of the Centre for Humanities and Social Change Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
  • Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou (Associate Professor of Sociology, Head of Group Sociology & Social Theory, UCL)
  • Linsey McGoey (Professor of Sociology, University of Essex, Author of ‘The Unknowers: How Strategic Ignorance Rules the World’)

All of our events are free but you can support the IAS here.