Pandemic Sociology

  • Martyn Pickersgill The University of Edinburgh
Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, pandemic, expertise, sociology of knowledge


In 1990, the sociologist Phil Strong wrote about “epidemic psychology” as part of his research on the recent history of AIDS. Strong described vividly how epidemics of fear, of explanation and moralization, and of (proposed) action accompanied the epidemic of the AIDS virus per se. In this essay, I draw on these formulations to think through the current COVID-19 crisis, illustrating too a pandemic of inequality. In so doing, I provide a sketch of a pandemic sociology.

Author Biography

Martyn Pickersgill, The University of Edinburgh

Martyn Pickersgill is Professor of the Sociology of Science and Medicine at The University of Edinburgh. He is also Co-Director of Research in the Usher Institute, Edinburgh Medical School, and Associate Director of the Wellcome Trust-supported Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society. Martyn’s work focusses on the social dimensions of biomedicine and mental health.

25 Aug 2020
Critical Engagements