Pandemic Conundrum: To Control Or To Trust? – Analysis, Eurasia Review June 27, 2020 By Yasmine Wong
The COVID-19 pandemic has blurred the boundaries between private and public life. Government efforts to discourage socially irresponsible behaviour have emboldened individuals to report, shame, and berate individuals who flout rules. This rise in mutual surveillance erodes trust in the community, and in social capital.
The Panopticon aptly describes lived reality during the pandemic, where the encouragement of mutual surveillance cultivates a panoptic social environment. COVID-19 may prompt suspicion and distrust; this forms part of our ‘behavioural immune system’. It consists of behavioural and psychological adaptations we undergo to reduce the likelihood of contact with the virus.