In the last year we have been forced to disengage from the larger society, with so much of our emotional energy turning towards sustaining close relationships at a distance through the affordances of social platforms. Even when we’re ‘opening up’ the folk epidemiological self-consciousness of the last year can’t be wished away, with wider interactions (accurately) coded as vectors of transmission.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what reconstruction will look after pandemic, as well as how it will compare to older periods of social reconstruction. There’s something of this captured in Anne Helen Petersen’s newsletter last night about the potential significance of online communities after the pandemic. Will the trend of bowling alone be reversed as we begin to leave the crisis stage of COVID-19?
Early 20th century social science was driven by a vision of social reconstruction, described here by John Scott and Ray Bromley in their Envisioning Sociology, loc 323: What would a 21st century post-pandemic reconstruction look like? What role would social science play?