Cultural & Social Shifts

How is the pandemic impacting culture and society. You will find trends, commentary and emerging norms.

πŸ’¬ WhatsApp Chat for Cultural & Social Shifts πŸ’¬

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πŸ”— - conceptual grid for building back better. Four scenarios


πŸ”— Might be better in business trends

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Cultural Overview

Focus this section on brands, creativity, projects and initiatives. Outcomes of social behaviour showing up in public or semi-public spheres.

Everyone who thinks about culture must ask themselves this on a regular basis. But these circumstances call for a more serious reevaluation. The pandemic has fractured the discourse, exposing how many layers of assumptions formed the bedrock.

Cultural Responses Examples


See also: Arts Section of Handbook
Social Responses to Epidemics Depicted by CinemaΒ 

πŸ”— - Artists propose solutions to the problems that the government, media, and tech can’t solve. This project is about learning from these imaginative creators how to not only survive, but hopefully even thrive through the pandemic. Includes overview thoughts on cultural and social shifts as a result of the pandemic.

Digital Expressions

πŸ”— - Rise of dark academia aesthetic on Tik Tok filled with nostalgic escapism and quarantine hobbies.Β 

Remote culture accelerated
πŸ”— - Overview of catalysed adoption of telemedicine, explains larger shifts and specific examples of how companies areΒ racing to add doctors and bandwidth, while big tech firms likeΒ MicrosoftΒ Corp.Β add services.

πŸ”— - Travis Scott Fortnite Livestream concert one of several examples of quarantine livestreams but highlights rate, mode and drivers of adoption of virtual spaces in culture.

πŸ”— On building a pub in VR to recreate believable simulation of an IRL social experience. The article includes a technical breakdown of process and explores why these social spaces matter and can be transformed.

πŸ”— - On the rise and popularity of virtual sex parties and orgies in a lockdown. Good for those looking into intimacy, boredom and effects of isolation.


New emojis and their meanings

πŸ”— On how Covid-19 is shaping language and expression, including the rise of dark humour and memes.

New Greeting Customs

  1. Boot Tap
  2. Bow/Curtsey
  3. Vulcan Salute
  4. Army Salute
  5. Wakandan Salute (cross arms over chest)
  6. Right hand on heart
  7. Spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch (
  8. Elbow bump
  9. Namaste
  10. East Coast Wave (
  11. Nanu nanu



Social Impact Overview

Focus on behaviour, research, how people are interacting

πŸ”— 37 questions to inform

A list of social and political issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how these relate to policy and current events.

πŸ”—πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ New indicators from the ONS Opinions and Lifestyle survey covering the period 20 March 2020 to 30 March 2020 to understand the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on people, households and communities in Great Britain. Released on April 9thFocus on North America (US & Canada).

πŸ”—πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ CovidLife survey is open to any UK residents over 18. Researchers are working with the Scottish Health Research Register (SHARE) and other UK research teams to recruit as widely as possible.

πŸ”—πŸ΄σ §σ ’σ ³σ £σ ΄σ Ώ Scottish Government framework for decision making. Document describing transition out of covid lockdown and long lasting changes and impacts on society and ways of working. Feedback invited.

πŸ”—πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ A study (begun c. March 2020) from the University of Oregon is looking at Americans' perceptions of COVID-19 Coronavirus in real time. Includes looking at emotional reactions, risk perceptions, emerging behaviour and how all of changes with the media portrayal of Coronavirus.

πŸ”—πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ MIT Survey aimed to measure the toll of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide - ongoing

Generational Impact Overview

Notes on this section - mixes impact and response, might need better phrasing or more rigourous sorting of links below

πŸ”—πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ On how different generations are worrying about COVID-19 and its effect on their lives and that of their families'. Includes short speculation on intergenerational trauma that might come out of crisis.

Under 25s (Gen Z & Gen Alpha)
πŸ”— The Associated Press asked young people across the globe to talk about their lives amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Using mobile phones, they provided all the footage and photos.

πŸ”— On Gen Z generation (people born c. 1997-2012) coming of age in the pandemic, focusing on mental health impact and digital camaraderie. Cultural implications also featured, including how brands are responding to new behaviours.

Millennials / Gen Y

Gen X


Impact on Inclusivity, Diversity and Civil Rights

Ie: Gender relations, Transgender rights

Covid-19 and the rise of racism

Behaviour After First Wave

Snapshots of behaviour after easing of lockdown
πŸ”—πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ On life after first wave in Wuhan, and the rise in use of "health codes" in China after Covid-19, Good for those thinking about the issue of immunity passports.

πŸ”— - How "institutions optimised for neglect" - the warehousing of people (prison, care homes) and animals (factory farming) - have contributed to the fast spread of COVID-19. And how, through times of scarcity such as a pandemic, social inequalities come into sharper focus and cost lives.

Socio-Economic Impact

πŸ”— Report by Β UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)Β on COVID-19 related national and global socio-economic trends, emerging issues and their implications for social policy at the national and international levels.Β 

πŸ”— On looming global food crisis as a result of COVID-19 - it could double the number of people facing acute hunger to 265 million by the end of this year.
business angle too, so worth including in that section as well

πŸ”—πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ - The Economic and Social Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the West Midlands

Health and Healthcare

πŸ”—πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ - Effect on addictions and seeking treatment in the US, includes overview of different treatment options during the pandemic, how addict and family behaviour is changing when seeking and entering treatment.


The decline in trust (did your kids wash their hands, I don't want them to go to camp together etc) will further drive towards smaller pods rather than congregation-size community.

Work and Workers

πŸ”—πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ - On essential workers' strikes, their effetiveness in raising awareness and solidarity despite low turnout rates. Mentions how in the past, crises have led to gaining workers' rights and how the chips might fall in the current climate through warehouse walk-outs and virtual organising to gain access to basic PPE, extended sick leave and higher pay.

Historical Perspectives Overview

Missing - too "Western" focused, please include information on how health crises like SARS, ebola (and others that might not have been as widely reported) influenced shifts in culure and society.


How pandemics shape social evolution- Laura Spinney weighs up Frank Snowden’s sweeping history charting the impact of infectious diseases on society.

The Black Death and the Future of the Plague

Public health interventions and epidemic intensity during the 1918 influenza pandemic

Nonpharmaceutical Interventions Implemented by US Cities During the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic

The effect of public health measures on the 1918 influenza pandemic in U.S. cities

Effects of reactive social distancing on the 1918 influenza pandemic