CoBiS, COVID-19-Corpus of the Educational System in the nation state; discourse analysis; Governmentality, Archive

In 2019, a novel coronavirus – now known as SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Type 2) – sparked an epidemic, which in early 2020 spread globally and lead to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Since then the development and expansion of the coronavirus was monitored, evaluated, classified and problematized by various actors. On February 27th 2020 the German Robert Koch Institute - the government’s central scientific institution in the field of biomedicine - rated the risk of Covid-19 for Germany between low and moderate. Subsequently, the Pandemic called forth social and political practices of WHO, UN, EU and national states. The Pandemic recalled different responses in the public and political field: e.g. announcing a state of emergency for particular regions or even nations and calling for a ‘war‘ or ‘fight‘ against the virus, framing it as a global crisis.

Key facts

CoBiS, COVID-19, Educational System, Governmentality, Archive
04/01/20 - Until further notice
University institutions
Department of School Education, Centre for Education, Teaching, School and Socialization Research (ZeBUSS)


. The Covid-19 pandemic evokes a rupture of the social-historical, at least as the virus points to those various and great endeavours of societal and institutional actors to politically govern its development with the promise/challenge to prevent a (social, national, systemic, medical) catastrophe. Governing the Pandemic means to regulate the public and private life of societies: by shutting down the commercial and cultural life (restaurants and bars sports) and cultural facilities, particular infrastructure (hairdresser, etc.) and imposing a lockdown, followed by recommendation for remote work and a shift from in-classroom teaching to homeschooling. General questions on the relationship between public and private, the role and relevance of infrastructure and most important the significance of education and schooling, social care and social injustice arise.

CoBiS is interested in these discourses and focuses on those discursive practices that present themselves as prevention, to critically claim them as a policing-routine but also to show the politics, subjectification, normalization and gouvernmentality transmitted therewith. Consequently, we are interested in discourses and its politics of education presented in the official documents of those institutions being responsible for the wellbeing and education of young people. From where we stand, educational sciences need to address the pedagogical dimensions and questions e.g.: 

# the ambivalence between the right for education and distance-learning

# the relation between space and children/childhood,

# the cooperation between family and school,

# the co-production of education;

# digital technology,

# social inequality and social/cultural difference(s),

# representations of children,

# (federal) structures of organising education,

# […]. 

The project’s objective is to capture, systematize and categorize discursive practices by doing discourse analysis. CoBiS collects Covid-19 documents and aims at building a Covid-19-Archive. Beginning with February 27th 2020 the Covid-19-Corpus continuously records documents from Germany concerning the educational system and in particular the school with its various actors (principles, teachers, students, parents, social worker, etc.) The documents collected so far include: (1) legislative decrees of state governments (2) ministerial regulations but also federal-state administration (cultural education) (3) letters from education authorities addressing school management/principals, teachers but also parents/legal guardians and/or students/kids and (4) press releases concerning the educational system.

The project aims at a cross-cultural perspective presenting discourses concerning the educational and schooling system, its accompanying practices and forms of education, as well as modes of subjectivation to gain a greater understanding of practice at the interfaces of the political.  

Project staff:
Alena Rauch (research assistant since September 2020)
Elisabeth Kornell (research assistant from December 2020)


Project members



Funding by the Professorship of the Theory of Learning, Teaching and Education/Prof. Dr. Jürgen Budde