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How has society changed because of the Covid-19 experience?

Société : quels changements à travers l’expérience du Covid-19 ?
Published on
05 May 2020

How has the lockdown and the crisis’ impact on our social interactions changed our relationships? Two researchers explore this question using a qualitative study, which is currently being implemented at an international scale.

The study is led by Stéphanie Gauttier, researcher and professor of strategic and technology management at Grenoble Ecole de Management, and Nicola Liberati, professor at the University of Shanghai Jiao Tong.  

How has society changed because of the Covid-19 experience? How are we living together? How are we distancing ourselves? How do we feel connected to others?

“To improve our understanding, we are currently inviting people from all countries to analyze their experience of grocery shopping during the lockdown. The invisible presence of a virus leads us to question our behavior and various details that were ignored until now because these everyday gestures have an impact on the spread of the virus. Going outside to buy groceries no longer has the same importance. Each action requires new thinking and analysis. Every time we think about these actions, we also think about others who have the same dilemma, and whose behavior impacts our own development,” explains Stéphanie Gauttier.

Measuring the impact of others on our perception of our own experience

The research project is currently being implemented on an international scale. On April 30th, 2020, a large part of the planet was on lockdown. For the moment, 15 countries have already participated in the study (India, Russia, Iran, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain…) with 83 participants. Once completed, the study should include a dozen participants from each country.

“For participants, the questionnaire asks them to share how they perceive the world. The goal of the study is to understand the subjectivity and intersubjectivity of individuals. Our questionnaire focused on a very individual experience, grocery shopping, which assumes a very subjective point of view, whereas going out means facing the presence of others and their perspective becomes a force to be considered. The presence or absence of others impacts our perception of our own experience,” adds Stéphanie, who worked for two years with Nicola Liberati in a philosophy laboratory in the Netherlands.

France: ambiguous feelings about shared space

“By observing the French sample, we already note an ambiguous rapport to shared spaces and the desire to avoid others or at least think about their presence. We also see a new relationship to our own vulnerability. Notably, the desire to avoid others as much as possible as well as avoiding areas of potential contact. But at the same time, the presence of others is a source of joy. The ethical aspect is also important (protecting oneself and others),” underlines Stéphanie.

“The end-goal of this study is to help define what it means to take care of oneself and take care of others. Priorities around the world are very different at both individual and cultural levels. And preventive measures also vary by country. The ambition is to analyze how individual behavior will be modified in the post-Covid era,” concludes Stéphanie.

To participate in the research project

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