International audience; By "We are at war." This was Emmanuel Macron's chosen refrain when he addressed the French nation about the current COVID-19 pandemic. He is certainly not the first to present human/pathogenic microbe relations in this way. Indeed, the history of immunology and epidemiology is littered with the vocabulary of war. But this presidential rhetoric reveals a certain communication strategy based on national unity, a hackneyed but nevertheless effective argument that is perfectly in keeping with a neoliberal ideology, a context in which the life of society is a constant struggle. Who is at war, and against what? For there to be a war, there needs to be an enemy. But while viruses can maintain close relations with humans, and under certain circumstances may even put their lives in danger, the definition of their intentions only commits those who claim to give it. It is important that the perspective of these humans never be reduced to a universal 'us', which would grant them permission to speak on behalf of others, whether that be entire countries, or the whole of humanity.
free text keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, Microbes, Metaphor, Multispecies, War, Viruses, [SHS.ANTHRO-BIO]Humanities and Social Sciences/Biological anthropology, [SHS.SOCIO]Humanities and Social Sciences/Sociology