“COVID has put a magnifying glass on existing inequalities,” says Jolanda Jetten, a professor of social psychology at the University of Queensland, “and it’s clear that the degree of suffering is unfairly on the shoulders of the poorer groups in societies, and also the poorest countries in this world.”
“It’s clear that countries with high levels of inequality have fared much more poorly during this crisis,” she adds, defining inequality as a larger that global average gap between the poorest and the wealthiest people in a country. In this short video, Jetten, one of four editors of the recent book, Together Apart: The Psychology of COVID-19, discusses the role that social and economic inequality has played in the COVID-19 pandemic, both in how countries have been able to respond to the pandemic, and in how citizens have had to live through it.
The virus itself doesn’t know the economic terrain, but that terrain determines what happens before and after infection, Jetten explains. Wealth determines your ability to handle both an infection and the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. “recover quickly all comes down to whether you have the means to go to a hospital or have a safety net around you when losing a job. It is the poorest among us who have the worst sick pay arrangement, fewer protections such as good health care plans, … and less well-insured generally.”
Meanwhile, having a sense of inclusion, of solidarity, can help combat the pandemic and its associated problems, but again, inequality erodes this sense of we-ness.
The editors of Together Apart –Jetten,; Stephen Reicher, Wardlaw Professor of Psychology at the University of St. Andrews; Tegan Cruwys, senior research fellow at the Australian National University; and S. Alex Haslam, professor of psychology and Australian Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland – showed their own sense of direction by working at warp speed for the serious academic endeavor of producing the book at the beginning of the pandemic. Collaborating remotely put together the edited volume Together Apart in record time for SAGE Publishing (which released the entire book for free download on Social Science Space in May).
Now, in the dawn of 2021, they are revisiting their work and that of their contributors in a series of seven videos in which they talk with the academics who wrote edited volume’s various chapters.
The last video in the series will appear on Wednesdays next week.
The series so far:
Social influence during COVID-19 | Alex Haslam, Nik Steffens, Matthew Hornsey and Frank Mols
Improving the Response to COVID-19 | Jolanda Jetten and Jack Dovidio
Polarization During COVID-19 | Jolanda Jetten, Heme Preya Selvanathan and Charlie Crimston
Two Psychologies Of COVID-19 | Stephen Reicher
Leadership During COVID-19 | S. Alex Haslam