• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site
  • HSE University
  • News
  • How People’s Behaviour Has Changed in Public Places during the Pandemic

How People’s Behaviour Has Changed in Public Places during the Pandemic

How People’s Behaviour Has Changed in Public Places during the Pandemic

© iStock

The HSE Centre for Fundamental Sociology has recently held ‘Logica Socialis’, an open social theory seminar. Andrei Korbut, Senior Research Fellow at the HSE Centre for Fundamental Sociology, presented his report entitled ‘COVID-19 as an interactional phenomenon: People’s behaviour in public places during the pandemic’.

The seventh meeting of the open social theory seminar Logica Socialis took place at the Centre for Fundamental Sociology of HSE University. It was devoted to changes in people’s behaviour in public places during the coronavirus pandemic. The Centre’s Senior Research Fellow Andrei Korbut presented his research. He began his talk by saying that COVID has affected various spheres of people’s lives and, in the opinion of many speakers, these changes will leave their mark on the future. 

‘Some aspects of our ‘façade’, or as Irving Hoffman calls it ‘front’, have undeniably changed, as well as our interaction with other people in public spaces. This is primarily due to both the character of the disease itself and the measures that have been taken because of the pandemic,’ the speaker believes.

Andrei Korbut, Candidate of Sociological Sciences, Senior Lecturer of the School of Sociology, the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Fundamental Sociology, HSE University’

COVID has affected many, but not all, aspects of everyday life. Here, we should take into account the features of different spaces. In the underground, the influence of COVID is transformed considerably or interpreted through the ordinary practices of people’s behaviour in this public place. On the one hand, the influence of the expected supervision [over compliance with anti-virus requirements] should not be overestimated. On the other hand, we should not underestimate that fact that people follow these requirements. They are aware of what is happening and understand that these requirements may be used not only by the authorities, but also by other people who assess their moral status. The way we behave in this public place is assessed from this respect as well, and we should take it into account.

The research by Andrei Korbut and his colleagues relies on observations made in the Moscow underground since the beginning of spring 2020. The speaker explained that he looks into people’s behaviour within the context of three dimensions—space, time, and interaction with acquaintances and strangers. For instance, the researcher believes that the way people slow their pace before entering the underground, putting on their masks right in front of the entrance doors, clearly shows that people’s attitude to space has changed. 

‘Social space is structured differently in the time of COVID. On top of new tangible objects (like masks and gloves) and new rules for physical distancing, our behaviour has changed, including the way we approach the doors to an underground station.  We’ve developed a new series of actions. This is no longer the simple act of opening the door and stepping inside. We need to get ready for doing this by putting on gloves and masks, then we need some space and time to actually perform the action,’ said the speaker. 

Andrei Korbut also noted the changes in the behaviour of couples. Most often, they both wear (or sometimes not) masks, rearranging or lowering their masks to mirror their partner’s behaviour. ‘I think this cannot be explained solely by the fact that couples are supposed to be equal. Equality does play a certain part, of course, but there are some procedures whereby people achieve this equality. In my opinion, it is very noticeable that couples, on the one hand, mirror each other’s behaviour and, on the other hand, teach each other how to use masks and gloves. Thus, we can see how people control each other’s behaviour.’

See also:

First-year Students Will Be Able to Get COVID Shots at HSE University

The new regulations ‘On the Organization of Studies for the 2021/2022 Academic Year’ feature in detail what will change for first-year students in the new academic year. HSE University will be organizing a vaccination drive in September for students aged 18 and over who are unvaccinated. Younger students will be eligible for vaccination once they turn 18.

New Safety Measures to Be Introduced at HSE University

Starting September 1, 2021, HSE University-Moscow is introducing new safety policies on campus to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They apply to students over 18 years old who have not had COVID during the last six months, have not been vaccinated (with a Russian or a foreign vaccine), nor have a medical exemption from vaccination. Free vaccination will be available on campus to all arriving students.

HSE University Creates the Viral Genealogy Simulator to Model the Spread of COVID-19

Researchers of HSE Tikhonov Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM), in cooperation with their colleagues from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), have developed software to model the spread of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This is the world’s fastest Viral Genealogy Simulator (VGsim). For more details about this scalable simulator, read the reprint on medRxiv. The code is freely available at GitHub.

Post-pandemic Rehabilitation. What Will Help Russia's Economy Recover?

The year 2020 was a period of economic hardship and significant change in a wide range of sectors for most countries. A team of authors from HSE University has explored how Russia will recover from this crisis and which industries will be affected by the economic recovery. Their study was published in the journal Voprosy ekonomiki.

Life with COVID: ‘The Beast Is Dangerous and Needs to Be Watched’

Researchers have yet to evaluate the entire impact of COVID on mortality. However, it is now possible to discuss the first results of some initial studies. The HSE International Laboratory for Population and Health held a webinar ‘The First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Russia (April 2020—March 2021)’. Although the Russian total mortality rate increased during that period, it was Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Poland that topped the list. The lowest growth in the mortality rate was observed in South Korea. Meanwhile, researchers have failed to detect a lockdown-induced baby boom anywhere in the world.

Group Testing Method Developed for COVID-19

Researchers Mario Guarracino from the HSE Laboratory of Algorithms and Technologies for Networks Analysis in Nizhny Novgorod and Julius Žilinskas and Algirdas Lančinskas from Vilnius University, have proposed a new method of testing for COVID-19. This group method allows results to be obtained 13 times faster as compared to individual testing of each sample. The research paper was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

COVID-19 Denial Depends on a Population’s Trust in Social Institutions

An international team of scholars studied how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Europeans’ stress levels and their trust in their national governments and the healthcare systems. They found that respondents were most stressed by the state of the national economy, and only after that, by the risk of catching COVID-19 and possibly being hospitalized. In Western Europe, people trust their governments more than in other EU countries. The results of the study were published in Royal Society Open Science.

Returning to the Classroom: How ICEF Handled the Challenges of Online Learning and What Has Changed

On March 29, HSE is fully transitioning to in-person instruction. However, since March 1 some departments, including ICEF, have been conducting seminars on campus while holding lecture courses online. Oleg Zamkov, Academic Supervisor of the ICEF Bachelor’s programme, spoke about how ICEF survived the rapid transition to online exams, what LSE professors have to say about the effectiveness of the online exams, and what digital innovations that were implemented during the remote period will be used moving forward.

Researchers Reveal Genetic Predisposition to Severe COVID-19

HSE University researchers have become the first in the world to discover genetic predisposition to severe COVID-19. The results of the study were published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Russians’ Digital Practices During Lockdown

The HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge has released the results of its survey on digital practices in 2020, which illustrate the changes in how people have mastered new formats to solve routine tasks.The HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge has released the results of its survey on digital practices in 2020, which illustrate the changes in how people have mastered new formats to solve routine tasks.