Perturbations of Private and Public under COVID-19

Nail Farkhatdinov's picture

Your network editor has reposted this from H-Announce. The byline reflects the original authorship.

Call for Papers
June 15, 2021
Russian Federation
Subject Fields: 
Sociology, Political Science, Philosophy, Anthropology, Humanities

Various pandemic measures have been taken all over the world to stop the spread of COVID-19; these measures have transformed many aspects of everyday life, including familiar practices, as well as the concepts of private and public. The distinction between private/public is one of the basic social distinctions that underlies many others. The changes in this dichotomy reflect upon the very foundations of contemporary societies, and the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging the established ways of drawing this distinction.

On the one hand, we are witnessing the transformation of private as a result of changed conditions and the balance between work and leisure. A large number of people found themselves staying in their homes for a longer time than ever before, and were forced to use various forms of online communication which gave various outsiders access to their previously-closed home environment. As people turned their homes into workplaces for remote work—with the prospect of a significant part of workplaces continuing at home after the pandemic has ended—their understanding of private inevitably evolved. All of this affects the practices that people perform at home (such as eating routines, dressing habits, conversational activities, time structuring, or relationships with intimate partners and companion species), as well as their general sense of ‘privacy’.

On the other hand, there were changes in the practices of public behavior, some of which were imposed by medical and other governmental agencies (the wearing of mask, the use of gloves, and the so-called ‘social distancing’), but people also invented their own ways of protecting themselves and others from COVID-19. All of these measures have to be interpreted and applied in ordinary public places where participants have to decide, for example, whether the distance between them is ‘wide enough’, or if bringing their mask down to their chin is the most appropriate choice for the setting around them. As a result, the notion of ‘public’ with its ideas of ‘dangerous’ and ‘safe’ has significantly changed. It has introduced new ways of perceiving ourselves and others in public situations in our everyday lives, and has given us new reasons for the mutual moral assessment.

All of these transformations are of particular interest for social sciences where private and public belong to basic theoretical categories and which have a long history of empirical studies. These categories are used in diverse sociological traditions, from the detailed inter- actional analysis of everyday behavior by Erving Goffman to the large-scale critical analysis of modern society by Jürgen Habermas. Therefore, the pressure that the COVID-19 pandemic exerts on the contents of private and public as well as the boundary between them deserves close attention from social scientists.

The Russian Sociological Review invites those interested scholars to contribute to the special issue “Perturbations of Private and Public under COVID-19” with research papers fo- cusing on the changes in private/public practices and discourses. We welcome the theoretical studies of how the COVID-19 pandemic influences the social scientists’ understanding of contemporary societies and their research methodology. We would be glad to see papers on the meaning of the recent alterations in the notions of private and public for the analysis of other basic social phenomena such as inequality, violence, ideology, and conflict. We also welcome empirical studies of social interactions in public and private places related to the changes caused by the pandemic. We are particularly interested in case studies of how the pandemic influences public and private behavior in different countries and regions. Along with papers concerning the role of different power agents (governments, international or- ganizations, medical institutions, police forces, families, or neighborhoods) and the media in the spreading of the particular practices and beliefs related to private and public, we would also appreciate receiving papers on how public and private are transformed by the grass-root activities of ordinary people. We would also be glad to receive book reviews on the topic of the issue.

The Russian Sociological Review editorial team welcomes contributions from a variety of social scientific disciplines and humanities, including sociology, political philosophy, and social history.


June 15, 2021 — 500 words abstracts deadline

July 1, 2021 — Invitation to submit full papers

September 1, 2021 — Full papers deadline

October 1, 2021 — Notification of acceptance

November 1, 2021 — Revised papers deadline

December, 2021 — Publication

Contact Info: 

Professor Alexander Filippov

Dr. Nail Farkhatdinov (

Contact Email: