Drury, J, Reicher, S and Stott, CJT (2020) COVID-19 in context: Why do people die in emergencies? It's probably not because of collective psychology. British Journal of Social Psychology. ISSN 0144-6665

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Notions of psychological frailty have been at the forefront of debates around the public response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, there is the argument that collective selfishness, thoughtless behaviour, and over-reaction would make the effects of COVID-19 much worse. The same kinds of claims have been made in relation to other kinds of emergencies, such as fires, earthquakes, and sinking ships. We argue that in these cases as well as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, other factors are better explanations for fatalities - namely under-reaction to threat, systemic or structural factors, and mismanagement. Psychologizing disasters serves to distract from the real causes and thus from who might be held responsible. Far from being the problem, collective behaviour in emergencies - including the solidarity and cooperation so commonly witnessed among survivors - is the solution, one that should be harnessed more effectively in policy and practice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this paper can be accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjso.12393
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID‐19 collective behaviour crowds panic emergencies disasters
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 08:30
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2020 08:30
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/8371

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