Category Archives: Coronavirus crisis

Sociology and the problem of ‘social generations’

In evaluating the power and limitations of the ‘social generations’ concept, developed by Karl Mannheim in the 1920s, my chapter in Studying Generations: Multidisciplinary Perspectives reviews the different approaches to the study of generations within the discipline of sociology, with particular regard to their relationship to contemporary social, historical and political developments. It further suggests that the […]

Schools are still reeling from lockdown

Parents, remember this time three years ago? In England, we just had been locked down for Christmas, waiting with clenched teeth for the start of the next school term, only for the school gates to be slammed shut for a further two months. Our kids were condemned to another run of aimless, formless days, tended […]

The real chaos of the ‘new normal’

“Generation gap” is a term that trips neatly off the tongue, often used to describe banal differences between older and younger people in matters of cultural taste, approaches to work, political opinion, and myriad other features of social life. Just yesterday, The Times added sex to that list, telling us that Gen Z, compared to their elders, […]

The ‘stolen years’: understanding the lockdowns

It’s not surprising lockdown was experienced as an era of loneliness, anxiety and fear. In every arena, freedom, autonomy and social life were restricted in favour of Zoom calls, family bubbles, and vaccine passports. Some say we are seeing a permanent shift in the experience of growing up. But to what extent has Covid given […]

Did Covid-19 restrictions break British society?

In this Collateral Global Conversation, I talk to Professor David Livermore about the consequences of lockdowns and social distancing restrictions for the fabric of social life. As we move on from the pandemic itself, to what extent have the behaviours and mores of pre-Covid times changed? On one hand, dystopian fears about the end of handshakes, hugs, […]

How we failed the ‘Class of Covid’

Young people paid a heavy price for lockdown – but they’re not damaged beyond repair.

The problem of atomisation: from ‘bowling alone’ to lockdowns

Keynote lecture for the Academy conference, ‘Old roots of the new disorder‘, Bedfordshire, 16 July 2022.  

Fear, trust, and the sociology of pandemics

The Covid-19 pandemic was often described as an ‘unprecedented’ disaster, which required wholly new ways of thinking about, and managing, social life. But what was different about this pandemic to those that have afflicted societies over time? Sociologists have long been interested in pandemics, because they disrupt the existing social order and throw existing problems […]

Generation CUB – how the events of Covid, Ukraine and Brexit will shape our teenagers’ lives

Our children have grown up in a febrile state of emergency. How will they deal with a changed state of mind in years to come?

What the pandemic has really done to our children’s minds

If children have chosen ‘anxiety’ as their word of the year, it is because Project Fear has taught them that this is the right way to feel.