Solidarity and collectivism in the context of COVID-19

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Flynn, Angela V.
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SAGE Publications
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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted health care, economies and societies in ways that are still being measured across the world. To control the spread of the virus, governments continue to appeal to citizens to alter their behaviours and act in the interests of the collective public good so as to protect the vulnerable. Demonstrations of collective solidarity are being consistently sought to control the spread of the virus. Catchphrases, soundbites and hashtags such as ‘we’re all in this together’, ‘stronger together’ and other messages of unity are employed, invoking the sense of a collective struggle. However, this approach is fundamentally challenged as collectivist attitudes run contrary to the individualism of neoliberal ideology, to which citizens have been subjected. This paper argues that attempting to employ the concept of solidarity is inherently challenged by the deep impact of neoliberalism in health policies and draws on the work of Durkheim to examine the concept in a context in which health care has become established as an individual responsibility. The paper will argue that a dominant private-responsibility model and an underfunded public system have eroded solidarity weakening its effectiveness in generating concerns for the collective.
Solidarity , COVID-19 , Durkheim , Ireland , Healthcare , Collectivism , Individualism , Neoliberalism
Flynn, A. V. (2022) 'Solidarity and collectivism in the context of COVID-19', Nursing Ethics. doi: 10.1177/09697330211072371