Since its emergence in early 2020, the COVID-19 crisis has affected every part of the world. Well beyond its health effects, the pandemic has wrought major changes in people’s everyday lives as they confront restrictions imposed by physical distancing and consequences such as loss of work, working or learning from home and reduced contact with family and friends.

This edited collection covers a diverse range of experiences, practices and representations across international contexts and cultures (UK, Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand). Together, these contributions offer a rich account of COVID society. They provide snapshots of what life was like for people in a variety of situations and locations living through the first months of the novel coronavirus crisis, including discussion not only of health-related experiences but also the impact on family, work, social life and leisure activities. The socio-material dimensions of quotidian practices are highlighted: death rituals, dating apps, online musical performances, fitness and exercise practices, the role of windows, healthcare work, parenting children learning at home, moving in public space as a blind person and many more diverse topics are explored. In doing so, the authors surface the feelings of strangeness and challenges to norms of practice that were part of many people’s experiences, highlighting the profound affective responses that accompanied the disruption to usual cultural forms of sociality and ritual in the wake of the COVID outbreak and restrictions on movement. The authors show how social relationships and social institutions were suspended, re-invented or transformed while social differences were brought to the fore.

At the macro level, the book includes localised and comparative analyses of political, health system and policy responses to the pandemic, and highlights the differences in representations and experiences of very different social groups, including people with disabilities, LGBTQI people, Dutch Muslim parents, healthcare workers in France and Australia, young adults living in northern Italy, performing artists and their audiences, exercisers in Australia and New Zealand, the Latin cultures of Spain and Italy, Asian-Americans and older people in Australia. This volume will appeal to undergraduates and postgraduates in sociology, cultural and media studies, medical humanities, anthropology, political science and cultural geography.

part I|24 pages


chapter 1|12 pages

COVID society

3Introduction to the book

chapter 2|11 pages

Contextualising COVID-19

Sociocultural perspectives on contagion

part II|52 pages

Space, the body and mobilities

chapter 3|13 pages

Moving target, moving parts

27The multiple mobilities of the COVID-19 pandemic

chapter 5|14 pages

City flows during pandemics

Zooming in on windows

part III|51 pages

Intimacies, socialities and connections

chapter 7|12 pages


79Dating apps as digital health technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic

chapter 8|13 pages

‘Unhome’ sweet home

The construction of new normalities in Italy during COVID-19

chapter 9|12 pages

Queer and crip temporalities during COVID-19

Sexual practices, risk and responsibility

chapter 10|13 pages

Isol-AID, art and wellbeing

Posthuman community amid COVID-19

part IV|53 pages

Healthcare practices and systems

chapter 11|15 pages

Strange times in Ireland

130Death and the meaning of loss under COVID-19

chapter 12|12 pages

Between an ethics of care and scientific uncertainty

Dilemmas of general practitioners in Marseille

chapter 13|12 pages

Post-pandemic routes in the context of Latin countries

The impact of COVID-19 in Italy and Spain

chapter 14|13 pages

Risky work

Providing healthcare in the age of COVID-19

part V|38 pages

Marginalisation and discrimination

chapter 15|13 pages

The plight of the parent-citizen?

183Examples of resisting (self-)responsibilisation and stigmatisation by Dutch Muslim parents and organisations during the COVID-19 crisis