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 and tensions into sharp relief. Yet there seemed to be relatively little critical discussion about the historical and sociological dimensions of the response to Covid-19, or balanced debate about the consequences of organising social and economic life around fear of infection.

In this Collateral Global conversation, I talk to Professor Robert Dingwall about the role of the historical and sociological imagination in making sense of the past two years, and where sociology could have done more to put fear into context.

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