Before we venture into a detailed analysis of interactional rituals and distance keeping, an interesting phenomenon worth considering is ‘covidiotism’ and its relationship with interactional rituals.
People react in different ways to social distancing, with some even creating their own interactional rituals to substitute those removed by social distancing. Many of these people have been popularly described in various media entries as ‘covidiots’ – a dangerously homogenising term. More specifically, in recent media reports, ‘covidiot’ is used as a derogatory expression to describe those people who, intentionally or otherwise, fail to adhere to social distancing requirements and flout (or, paradoxically, overenforce) interactional rituals. Thus, there is more to this complex term than meets the eye, and in this blog entry, we intend to differentiate between its various uses in the media from the perspective of interactional ritual theory. Let us create here our own ‘typology of covidiots’:
Of course, these are only representative examples of covidiotism. In essence, this term is almost inseparable from the notion of interactional rituals, and with the relaxing of lockdown in many countries, we may well witness clusters of complex complaints in the media with people being labelled as covidiots.
The Research featured in the blog was supported by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Momentum Grant (LP2017/5)