The claustropolitan society: A critical perspective on the impact of digital technologies and the lockdown imaginary

  • Tara Brabazon
  • Stefan Lawrence


The imperative of this article is to develop the trope of the ‘lockdown imaginary.’ To enact this project, a diverse array of theories and theorist are summoned, including the tropes and trajectories from Jean Baudrillard, Benedict Anderson, and Steve Redhead. This – seemingly – odd intellectual combination is both timely and appropriate. It is necessary – as with the Matryoshka Dolls – to commence with a theorization of hyperreality, then we crack open the concept to reveal theories of the imagined and imagining, concluding with the smallest and most brutalizing theoretical Dolls: claustropolitanism and foreclosure. From here, a (post) pandemic lockdown is configured, an imagining that transcends the restrictive public health imperatives of COVID-19 and global lockdowns. This article captures the perpetuity of the pandemic. It will never be post. Instead, we argue that the lockdown imaginary will continue to foreclose thought, behavior, political choices, and life decisions. Through the claustropolitan sociological approach, we chart not only the lockdown imaginary but a way through ‘the end of the world’ by naming its destructive tendencies. Keywords: Claustropolitanism, COVID-19 Studies, (Post)pandemic, lockdown imaginary, Digitalization