The unprecedented Corona crisis has fundamentally changed our lives – people are dying, the threat of infection is ubiquitous, most countries are locked down. The fear whether friends, family or oneself will fall ill or even fall victim to the disease, and whether the health care systems will hold up to the challenge, is always present. People work from home, communicate digitally, and direct contacts are limited to core families. The physical space in which people live shrinks tremendously, socializing is possible only digitally or from a distance. Sport clubs, pubs, theaters, cinemas are closed. Many leisure activities are discontinued, people are individualized.
The way we work has changed fundamentally – most people work remotely, those who do not are exposed to the threat of infection. Many people lose their jobs, their livelihood, their very existence. For those without or with grown kids Corona leads to a slowdown of activities, for those with small kids work has become much more stressful. The kids face the home schooling and parents-all-day challenges.
Consequences of the Corona pandemic
The political discourses have changed, more than ever people are dependent on the – often limited – wisdom of our political decision-makers. Desires of a strong leader have resurfaced; under the threat of infection people are prepared to give up civil liberties; but also the roles of the state and of the market are being reevaluated. At the same time fears are rising that corona leads to a permanent reduction in civil liberties. National borders have been closed, which goes in tandem with a reconsideration of the advantages of globalization, international migration, and an open world.
While it is not clear when the pandemic will come to an end, it is clear that at some point it will. Restrictions will be eased and finally dismantled. Businesses will reopen and economies will start over. People will go about their businesses; normal lives will be restored. But when all dead are buried and all ill are cured, will we continue our lives the way we did before the crisis that is upon us now? How will society have changed? How do we meet each other? How do we regard the foreign(ers)? What will the crisis have done to the social cohesion of societies, the way we work and produce, the way we think, our polities, the leaders we elect? Will the corona pandemic mark a watershed event or will it be “only “ a deep, but transitory change of the way we live?
The Idea for an “After Corona” – Blog
These and many more questions that did not occur to us or did not make it to this concept note are at the focus of our project “After Corona”. We invite informed, intelligent speculations about selected aspects of change, or fundamental alterations, that (will) have occurred and are likely to persist after the end of corona.
We ask people from the FRIAS community (current fellows and alumni/ae), from the University of Freiburg, and beyond to contribute to the blog hosted at the FRIAS website.
People interested to become a part of our After Corona-Blog are cordially invited to contact FRIAS press officer Verena Spohn or to have a closer look at our style sheet including this concept note for further information on how to become a FRIAS author.