Pandemic Practices, Part One. How to Turn “Living Through the COVID-19 Pandemic” into a Heuristic Tool for Sociological Theorizing


  • Tobias Werron Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University
  • Leopold Ringel Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University



COVID-19, Emergent Event, Practice Theory, Pandemic Practices, Practices of Comparing


This paper uses the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to engage in an experiment in sociological theorizing. For this purpose, we analyze the pandemic as an unpredictable event emerging before our very eyes. To account for the unpredictability of the event, we propose to think about it in terms of "pandemic practices": social practices that emerge and are being reproduced, connected, disconnected and (de)-institutionalized in the course of the pandemic. We introduce a tentative typology of pandemic practices which highlights what we call "pandemic meta-practices", that is, practices that discuss, compare, and evaluate other pandemic practices. Meta-practices, we argue, shape the likelihood of other pandemic practices to prevail by establishing relationships between them (e.g. by comparing the "management" of the pandemic in different countries). The concluding section explains the heuristic advantages of this approach with a number of research questions that we plan to study in more detail during future phases of the pandemic. Our experimental strategy of theorizing compels us to develop our view further during the event, making this only the first of a series of papers exploring the COVID-19 pandemic.


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How to Cite

Werron, T., & Ringel, L. (2020). Pandemic Practices, Part One. How to Turn “Living Through the COVID-19 Pandemic” into a Heuristic Tool for Sociological Theorizing. Sociologica, 14(2), 55–72.