Rights and solidarity during COVID-19

Halliday, Simon and Meers, Jed and Tomlinson, Joe; Cowan, Dave and Mumford, Ann, eds. (2021) Rights and solidarity during COVID-19. In: Pandemic Legalities. Bristol University Press, Bristol, pp. 79-92. ISBN 9781529218923 (https://doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781529218916....)

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The lockdown imposed by the four governments of the UK in late March 2020 represented an extraordinary, rapid, and radical restriction on normal life for the entire population. What did the UK public think about this unprecedented governmental intervention? Specifically, what was the popular rights consciousness with respect to the lockdown restrictions? The chapter argues that, despite notable and powerful public statements about the extent to which lockdown represented an unacceptable violation of basic rights and liberties, this claim failed to capture the public imagination. Instead, most people either regarded the violation of basic rights as acceptable, given the context of the pandemic, or simply failed to think of the lockdown in terms of basic rights at all. The chapter suggests that such popular rights consciousness has been shaped by the strength of social solidarity during the crisis – what we might describe as a kind of popular 'obligation' consciousness.


Halliday, Simon ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5107-6783, Meers, Jed and Tomlinson, Joe; Cowan, Dave and Mumford, Ann