Identifying the role of social science has hardly been prioritized ever and neither is being acknowledged amid the crucial moment of COVID 19. COVID 19 rather than being a physical phenomenon, has affected the social life of people greatly. So while looking for a sustainable solution for COVID it has to be dealt with multidimensional aspects where incorporating the role of social science can help a lot.
It’s true that social science can’t leave any direct influence on curing the disease but it can help to deal with the illness which according to Arthur Kleinman is a cultural construction (Klienman 1989). Class, gender, ideology, philosophy, geographical location might impact a lot on understanding health and the health-seeking process. In Iran, for COVID 19 when the mosques were shut people still attended the ceremonies in drive-in venues with their families in their cars (Xinhua,2020). In Eastern Bangladesh, ten thousand people attended [U1] a funeral of a religious leader defying the restriction by the government (Kamruzzaman, 2020). There are people with their own beliefs and ideology who won’t suddenly move to the precautions offered by orthodox science. Here a state’s arbitrary decision on religious sensitivity might cause a fragile social condition which may lead to a political massacre. Social science can predict and prevent these kinds of situations and mitigate the impact by helping to cope and adapt.
In the global south where a lot of people go through CAMs (complementary and alternative medicines). They won’t suddenly rush to the dominant scientific medical system. It would be easier and convenient to reach and have a direct negotiation with them to convince putting conviction on science if there were plenty of data ready in hand which certainly the social scientists enumerate and analyze. Introducing alternative public policy which mitigates the harsh effect of emergency, is a major role of social scientists.
Along with physical and psychological distress, people are showing restlessness through social media about being locked down in south Asia. Among several reasons, it can be an indicator of intolerance which might be a part of social resistance, individualism which capitalism injects in one’s mind or maybe it indicates the changing pattern of family structure or that the generation is more into living alone by themselves. The rapidly changing pattern of the family requires attention from urban management and policy-making groups. It’s important to acknowledge the changing social behavior, mass fear impact, the change in social norms in order to cope with the change. Proper execution of knowledge produced by public health and psychology can help the senior citizens and children to cope with the post COVID situation. Sociologists put reflections on how to live with few social ties, on different solitudes, arguing the needs of relationship and care of people with disabilities (Siza, 2020).
Corona vaccine has gained major attention in current socio-political contexts. The political nature of the vaccine is not giving the picture of solidarity which Yuval Noah Harari suggested is necessary right now to overcome this crisis (Harari, 2020). Countries are rather considering it as a race to invent the vaccine first which might bring a lot of economic profit and politically bring supreme power. In this situation, the proper utilization of the upcoming vaccines can contribute a lot to shape the further political situation of the world. Political scientists through analyzing empirical data and surveys, digging into historical archives, observing protests give a sustainable remedy for a crisis.
Since political history is always emphasized and practiced we barely have a well-documented history of previous pandemics and its overcoming mechanisms. A confusion choosing a strong lockdown to save life or withdrawing it to save the economy has been visible, therefor we stayed somewhere in a gray area between life and living which resulted a very high death toll all across the world. A proper knowledge gathered from history could help to understand its frequentation.
When rules like lockdown or quarantine were implicated, a lot of people didn’t understand it so they referred to it as a rumor because the authority in charge was unable to make them understand it. Proclaiming it in the local dialects could help people to recognize and abide by the rules. It is the social scientists who with their years of practice gain the ability to go close to people and explain any complex subject to them in a simpler way.
The world with the hit of COVID 19 is in its very fragile sociopolitical condition. A proper implication of social science can help a lot to mitigate loss. Social science and natural science together have the ability to accelerate the healing process of the world in a sustainable way.
Kleinman, A. (1981). Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture. An Exploration of the Borderland between Anthropology, Medicine, and Psychiatry, Berkeley, University of California Press.
Harari, Yuval Noah,2020, The World After Corona Virus, Financial Times https://www.ft.com/content/19d90308-6858-11ea-a3c9-1fe6fedcca75
Huaxia,2020, “Iranians attend drive-in religious ceremonies amid COVID 19 pandemic” XINHUA.net http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-05/04/c_139029786.htm
Kamruzzaman, Md. ,2020, “Bangladesh: Massive funeral for cleric amid lockdown”, Anadolu agency https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/bangladesh-massive-funeral-for-cleric-amid-lockdown/1809839
Siza, Remo. (2020). Re: What are the critical roles of social scientists amid the coronavirus, global pandemic?. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_are_the_critical_roles_of_social_scientists_amid_the_corona_virus_global_pandemic/5e73510edb2f9d0d9f602062/citation/download.