Sociologist from Malta

Monday, September 21, 2020

How did Covid19 change Maltese society? A comment to Malta Today

Whilst Covid19 has so far had various uneven impacts on Maltese society, it would be preposterous to reduce social change (or reproduction) to any singular determining factor. On the other hand, one can look into the impacts of a social phenomenon, in this case Covid19 and how it relates to other social phenomena. For example, in the  Maltese economic sphere, industries such as tourism are facing uncertainty, and public finance is constantly under pressure to make up for the crisis. 

At the same time, Malta's dependency on construction seems to be as influential as ever. The world of employment is facing changes: Workers who lost their jobs, others who are adjusting themselves to digital methods, and new challenges for the work-life balance. In turn, this dovetails with sectors such as education and with existing social factors such as class, gender and social status. For there is a difference between a worker on contract in a sector facing precariousness with another worker with job security. 

If one factors in other considerations, such as social integration, diversity, demographic change and caring responsibilities, the equation becomes even more complex, where people share commonalities (for example Covid-driven anxieties) and particularities (for example one's specific family/household situation). 

The reproduction of salient Maltese cultural characteristics can be observed too: A sense of community when facing national challenges, a lack of planning and enforcement in certain policy aspects, personalized and factionalized politics, and the resilience of the consumerist identity in a car-driven society. Each and every one of us faces an extra covid-influenced layer of daily dilemmas and choices in a society of opportunities and risks. We may have more questions than answers . In a social reality made up of plural truths and identities, the challenges of recognising and trusting governance processes and evidence-based knowledge becomes ever more complex. Upcoming conflicting school opening challenges and vaccine narratives may be two cases in point.

My comment was included in a feature by James Debono, which can be read here:

1 comment:

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