TODAY -

Sociology of Coronavirus

Rajendra Kshetri *



A phrase doing the round in social media following the Corona Virus outbreak in the world is "social distancing", as a precautionary measure.

But What is 'social distance' or for that matter social distancing? This CoVid-19 Pandemic is where Sociology comes in the picture rather handy. The question takes me back to my masters days in Bombay in the early eighties when I laid my hands on (reading) the Chicago School of urban Sociology.

The term 'social distance' was introduced in the social science lexicon in the early twenties by two American sociologists Robert Park and Ernest Burgess of the famed Chicago School of urban Sociology.

It was meant to describe 'aloofness and unapproachability' specially between members of different social strata. It was however Emory Bogardus, another American sociologist, who popularised the term in the early thirties with his formulation of 'Bogardus scale' ľa scale designed to permit the extent of tolerance or intolerance between social groups.

Social distance/social distancing are known to have been formally institutionalised in some/select extreme system of social stratification such as Apartheid and Caste. Informally they exist in almost all Societies in one form/way or the other.

The conceptualisation of the term was used or meant to use to better understand the level/extent of discrimination and exclusiveness that existed in a given social system. That is what the three American sociologists must have in mind when the term was introduced/popularised.

As is wont, the term remain confined only in the academic world, mostly referred by students of social sciences. Never in their wildest imagination may have crossed in mind that the term will one day gain international currency and become a Popular Parlance.

The Coronavirus outbreak worldwide has now brought the term 'Social distance/social distancing' into limelight. From Presidents to Prime Ministers to Chief Ministers to Medical Doctors to Health experts to policy makers to Concerned Citizens, it is on the lips of everyone.

Of all the precautionary preventive measures floated/suggested to combat the CoVid-19 Pandemic, 'Social Distancing' is the one that is gaining ground. It certainly captures people's attention to pay heed with all seriousness. Keep/maintain/practise social distancing is the 'mantra' doing the round the world over.

Interestingly enough and it may sound unconnected, this worldwide talk and advisory notes on keeping 'aloofness' and 'social distancing' reminds me of the one and only Greta Garbo- the Hollywood iconic legend of the black and white era. Garbo's most quoted phrase 'Leave me alone. I want to be left alone' was the talk of the world in the fifties and the sixties.

It was one such phenomenal phrase that captured the imagination of the rebellious youth of the sixties. A craze perhaps at par with the 'Beatle mania'. Did the Swedish-American actress who had social anxiety and a fear of crowd's have some inexplicable inkling that the world will one day come into a pass when being 'alone' or 'left alone' may serve some social purpose? Just wondering.

Robert De Niro's classic scene of "You talking to me" in the Oscar nominated film "Taxi Driver" comes into mind.

Never in the history of mankind has a virus threatens the survival of homo sapiens as the noval coronavirus did/does. It is more lethal and terrifying than the first and the second world wars. Cities after cities, towns after towns and provinces after provinces have been locked down as preventive measures.

CoronaVirus has gone viral. There is no immediate sign yet that this will stop. No vaccine has been developed so far.

Is 'aloofness', staying put at home, not mixing up with crowds the key to combat CoVid-19 then?

Is 'social distancing' the antidote to CoronaVirus? Yes, it could be to a considerable extent. Keep distance from the crowd, implement social distancing (along with practising other government/WHO advisories).

'Social Animal' that we are, the frightening scenario that unfolds before our eyes in the wake of CoronaVirus outbreak demands that we got to be 'unsocial' (for a finite period at least) to combat this dreaded disease. At the same time let us not forget to show solidarity to fellow humans, coping up with the virus elsewhere in the country/world. Express our feelings, Concern for the survival of (wo) mankind.

The worldwide outbreak of CoronaVirus has reminded us once again the prophetic message of the seventieth century metaphysical poet John Donne :
"No man is an island/
Any man's death diminishes me/
Because I am involved in mankind/
And therefore never send to know for/
Whom the bell tolls/
It tolls for thee
".


* The writer is Professor and Head, Department of Sociology, Manipur University, Imphal. Author of 'The Emergence of Meetei Nationalism'; 'District Council's in Manipur: Formation and Functioning'; "Sociology: Perception and Conception", his latest book "Cry of A Dying River" published by AABS publishing House, Kolkata is available at Amazon.


* Rajendra Kshetri wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Professor and Head, Department of Sociology, Manipur University, Imphal
This article was webcasted on March 22 2020 .



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Khongu Basi - Shumang Leela #1: Gallery
  • KMbi mEhOrbd :: Seireng
  • Covid-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Covid-19 Status 09 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Thoughts random: In times of coronavirus
  • IBSD joined hands with JNIMS : COVID 19
  • Meeting on release of Prisoners on bail
  • From COVID-19 Lan to Cheng Lan
  • Mental health & others should be provided
  • Food given @Blore, Kerala [Apr 8]: Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 08 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 karamna lanthengnagani ?
  • Call for Proposal :: CAWACH
  • Food distributed in Bangalore, Kerala
  • Mental Health during pandemic
  • Front Line, Ireland on arbitrary arrest
  • PM's mantra : Keep all in the loop
  • COVID-19: A crisis that humankind can solve
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #3
  • Covid-19 Status 07 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • How Manipur helped me survive the lockdown
  • Reproductive health services are essential..
  • 'Janata Curfew' Need of the hour :: Poem
  • Importance of Online learning in lockdown
  • Condemns racist attacks on North-east people
  • Over 76 thousand dead & climbing
  • The few thousand heroes in Manipur
  • Bishnupur during Lockdown [Apr 5] : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 06 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Reality of Korean Pop or Hallyu Wave
  • Illegal detention of YFPHR members
  • Amidst Sorrows and Hopes :: Poem
  • Mentality matters to fight COVID-19
  • Plight of stranded north-east workers in city
  • Measures taken up to check COVID-19
  • Betel leaves traders should not be let free
  • Relief Camp @Chassad - Mar 17 : Gallery
  • Betel leaves seized @Imphal Apr 4 : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 05 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • During the invasion of Covid-19
  • Surviving in the time of COVID-19
  • PM's 9 pm diya deciphered
  • Disguise :: Poem
  • Switch off lights call of PM
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Items distributed in Bengaluru : Gallery
  • Helpline Number for Students/ people from NE
  • Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic
  • His Call to the Nation
  • Enchanted Riches Land :: Poem
  • Fresh lease of life in NERAMAC
  • Naga Peoples Front Communique - [Apr 4]
  • Yes we can fight COVID-19 invasion
  • Chassad village Arson- Mar 17 : Gallery
  • Status Update 03 April : Govt of Manipur
  • A Panic-Stricken Crowd :: Poem
  • Covid-19: what ails one, ails us all
  • PM's Statement on COVID-19 [Apr 3]
  • Manipur BJP Statement [Apr 3]
  • Appeals to Prevent Forest Fires
  • FIR asisu handokkadabani
  • Message from Nagaland Opposition [Apr 3]
  • From Nationwide lockdown to what else ?
  • The virus respect no religion
  • Mr. Khadang - Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Status Update 02 April: Medical Directorate
  • Thotsang, Chao Sai, Makanmi: eMing
  • Muslim- one of most misinterpreted community
  • Stop Xenophobia against North East People
  • Essential Commodities Shops - Bishenpur
  • Beneath all that Darkness :: Poem
  • 17 in Assam, two in Manipur
  • Ode to the silent angels
  • Shopping - 30 March #2 : Gallery
  • Status Update 01 April: Medical Directorate
  • Drug users during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Reflections in the shadow of Covid-19
  • An absolute sacrifice
  • Report Clarification : Govt of Manipur [Apr 1]
  • Schools to remain closed beyond 31st March
  • Construct Quarantine centre at Koirangei
  • Pledges Rs 50 crore to PM CARES Fund
  • Fresh hotspot in Delhi's Nizamuddin
  • New findings on character of Coronavirus
  • Wars, Devastation & events in Kakching #2
  • COVID: Janata Curfew -Mar 22 #2 : Gallery
  • Support to stay home and pray
  • Racial prejudice against NE people
  • 'Release prisoners on bail/ parole'
  • Music Video 'Live Your Life' released
  • Donation to CM's Covid-19 Relief Fund
  • Farmer Producer Companies to collect
  • Heed the lockdown call
  • Health Advisory needs to be reviewed
  • Shopping - 30 March #1 : Gallery
  • Status Update 30 March: Medical Directorate
  • Stop Hate in the Time of Corona
  • April Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Manipuris stranded in State : Nodal Officer
  • Mask distributed at Kumbi
  • Nothing spreads like fear
  • Letter to Prime Minister on Racial Attack
  • Lockdown : Ensuring food for all
  • Covid-19: Manipur Strategy to Prevent & Win
  • Status Update 29 March: Medical Directorate
  • Covid-19 or Racism, which one to fight first ?
  • MHA to Chief Secys of States [Mar 29]
  • Home Delivery- Imphal Dists [Mar 29]
  • Shop List opened - Bishenpur [March 29]
  • Violating anti-defection law
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #2
  • Manipur Govt Orders [28 March] : Gallery
  • Status Update 28 March: Medical Directorate
  • Medical material airlifted from Delhi to Imphal
  • Coronavirus Combat; not just Govt's fight
  • Lack of availability of Medicines, Water..
  • Research to plug gaps in COVID-19 testing
  • RIMS areas disinfected - [March 26] : Gallery
  • Status Update 27 March: Medical Directorate
  • Manipur Govt Orders/Directives : 27 March
  • FEGOCTA donate 1 Day Salary to CM's Fund
  • Cure for COVID
  • What a respect to the caregivers !
  • Charity Mission Committee on COVID-19
  • NH7 Weekender : Online music festival
  • Lockdown amid curfew
  • PDS rice to CMHT excluded Keishamthong?
  • Curfew in Imphal - [March 24] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 helpline numbers in Manipur
  • Screening at Mao [Mar 20] : Gallery
  • COVID 19 & Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897
  • Decoding Tax Jargon through March Ending
  • NPF urged Nagaland Govt on COVID-19
  • Food items to Child Care Institutes
  • Hand rub bottles manufactured & distributed
  • Studying the total shutdown in Manipur
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Social Distancing observed [Mar 25] : Gallery
  • An appeal to all on COVID19
  • What is love ? :: Poem
  • Career option in Geomagnetism
  • Kohima gets a brand new song
  • Communique on Covid-19 : Nagaland Oppn
  • CM Covid-19 Relief Fund created
  • 12 on board flight with patient quarantined
  • Quiet celebration of Cheiraoba
  • Quarantine started- Mao -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Leikai Public curfew -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Stop stigma of Covid 19 +Positive Friends
  • Media : Essential services during lockdown
  • Acts of Kindness, Unity among Communities
  • Racist attacks on people from North-east
  • A friend in need is a friend indeed
  • Enforce total lockdown in Nagaland :: NPCC
  • Ugly response to positive case of COVID-19
  • First Case in Manipur
  • Lamphel Nawa Kombirei at Cheiraoba
  • Woman returned from UK has Coronavirus
  • Screening at Mao - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #1
  • Janata Curfew - 'Go corona' festival
  • Panacea for Economic Collapse: COVID-19
  • Total Lockdown till March 31st
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba - Meitei New Year Day
  • Giving racial twist to coronavirus
  • Need action to those mocking PM
  • COVID: Janata Curfew -Mar 22 #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Govt Orders - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Status Update 22 March: Medical Dir Lamphel
  • We will get by. We will survive.
  • Covid-19: Impact in Manipur :: Photos/News..
  • War against Corona
  • What ails Indian Railways
  • Appeal to Govt during COVID 19 crisis
  • Hats off to the men in white
  • COVID-19: Ima Keithel -March 21 : Gallery
  • Bandh on March 21 : Gallery
  • Social Justice & Democracy in Northeast
  • Sociology of Coronavirus
  • COCOMI extended help to victims of Chassad
  • The Omnipresent Fear :: Poem
  • MU Chemistry Dept makes hand sanitisers
  • COVID-19 : A blessing for Khwairamband
  • Wakching Thagi Sanarei #2 :: eRang
  • Who will rebuild Chahsat village ?
  • The untameable :: Poem
  • Importance of Fish & Fishery in Manipur
  • Challenges for female entrepreneur in India
  • The Killing Fields 2013-20 : News Timeline
  • How well prepared is Manipur?
  • More seriousness needed to fight COVID-19
  • Khongu NangGi Baasi :: Shumang Leela
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress #1 : Gallery
  • Journalistic Challenges in Reporting Chassad
  • Paneer Our Daughter's Delight
  • Civil Site Engineer / Site Manager
  • Architectural Designer at R-Square
  • Research Officer - Financial at Amethyst
  • Chinky to Coronavirus: Racial profiling chain
  • Promises, prosperity, Rights & Responsibility
  • Wars, Devastation & events in Kakching #1
  • When Chassad Blazed Our Hearts Burnt
  • Nagas entering final phase of power struggle
  • Climate change & predator : Any link?
  • Restore Chassad village to normal condition
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Marathon @ Singjamei : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Cheng Khaiba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Khwairamband : Gallery
  • Intl Women's Day @ Bangalore : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Rock @Sagolband :: Gallery
  • MOU - Guest House at Mandalay :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa @ Kangla :: Gallery
  • Health Camp at Pune :: Gallery
  • Torch Rally: Journalist Sports: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #1: Gallery
  • Phisakol - Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • yeniHTa :: Seireng
  • World Meetei Convention @Cachar : Gallery
  • 13th Mega Marathon Manipur #3 : Gallery
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Wakching Thana Lakpada #2 :: eRang
  • Students @ Class XII Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur Legislative Assembly Building : Gallery
  • Eepan Thaba -birth ceremony : Gallery
  • Coronavirus prevention @ Moreh : Gallery
  • SPONSORED ADS