Coronavirus narratives

The thumbnail for the discussion

There are already multiple competing narratives on the origins, meaning and lessons of the coronavirus pandemic, each with its own individual as well as societal consequences. At the level of the individual, the pandemic can be seen as an opportunity for potentially clarifying a sense of self and hence gaining new personal freedoms and sense of peace. Within and across communities, the mantra ‘We are all in this together’ – the pandemic serving as a great leveller – has faded as media has focused increasingly on the deepening divisions throughout the crisis. At the level of systems, several public and private sector leaders are already translating the lessons on risk planning to climate change, the latter serving as a dominant emerging narrative. Who are the individuals and groups whose responses to the pandemic we should highlight? What personal attributes and actions are most worth remembering and why? What roles and responsibilities do journalists have in the telling of these stories? What rituals can we use to promote as well as sustain these narratives? What will these narratives mean for our sense of selves as individuals? For social cohesion within communities? For our peace, freedom and order? What will be the consequences for the new world order that emerges? How can we shape this actively, rather than allow forces to shape us?

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