The Sociology of COVID-19 reading group

During this time of global crisis, we have decided to turn our attention to COVID-19, focussing specifically on the sociological responses/implications of the epidemic. Below are the readings we will focus on each week. We aim to provide a space where diverse viewpoints are heard, and carry equal weight. We try to keep debate grounded in the material provided and usually chose the following week readings according to the direction of discussion.

If would like to join please contact Courtney Buckler:

A longer reading list on the topic of coronavirus is also being compiled by various academics and people in the sector. The full list is available here:


Week 1:
Ferguson et al. (2020) Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID- 19 mortality and healthcare demand. Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team. BBC News article criticising Ferguson paper above on modelling:
Sadati A K, B Lankarani M H, Bagheri Lankarani K. (2020) Risk Society, Global Vulnerability and Fragile Resilience; Sociological View on the Coronavirus Outbreak, Shiraz E-Med J.

Week 2:
Social Contagion: Microbiological Class War in China. Chuăng
Hanage, W. (2020) I’m an epidemiologist. When I heard about Britain’s ‘herd immunity’ coronavirus plan, I thought it was satire. Guardian 15th March 2020

Week 3:
Hannah, M. et al. (2020) Thinking Corona measures with Foucault.
Judith Butler. (2020) Capitalism has its limits. Verso [online blog], 30 March.

Week 4:
Johnstone, L. (2020) Why it’s healthy to be afraid in a crisis. Guardian 25th March 2020.
In response to: Daley, P. (2020) We face a pandemic of mental health disorders. Those who do it hardest need our support. Guardian 24th March.

Week 5:
Racism is the root cause of ethnic inequities during covid-19. Discover Society, 17th April 2020.
Taylor, K. (2020) The Black Plague. The New Yorker, 16th April 2020.

Week 6:
Caduff, C. (2020) What Went Wrong: Corona and the world after the full stop.

Week 7:
Nik Brown’s recent book Immunitary Life – please get in touch with Courtney if you would like access to this reading.

Week 8: 
Greenhalgh et al (2020) Face masks for the public during the COVID-19 crisis.
Friedman (2020) Face masks are in: What the US can learn from East Asia about face masksThe Atlantic.

Week 9: 
Independent SAGE Report 2. Should schools reopen? Interim findings and concerns.
Leonard (2016) The sociology of children, childhood and generation.

Week 10: 
Jerreat (2020) ‘Coronavirus – the new scapegoat for media censorship, rights groups say
Williams (2020) ‘We often accuse the right of distorting science. But the left changed the coronavirus narrative overnight.’ 

Week 11:
Callard (2020) Very, very mild: Covid-19 symptoms and illness classification.
Greco (2012) The classification and nomenclature of ‘medically unexplained symptoms’: Conflict, performativity and critique

For those particularly interested in this topic, there are some optional extras:

Week 12: 
Mel Salm (2020) Anthropocene Diseased: A Provocation
Naomi Klein (2020) ‘We must not return to the pre-Covid status quo, only worse‘ The Guardian.