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As much as the event following 9/11 triggered massive changes in our understanding of privacy rights and increased our level of acceptance of government infringement on individuals’ freedom, the pandemic of the SARS-COV-2 is threatening to change our understanding of societal hierarchy and democratic process. In this essay, we imagine a society where two classes, defined by their susceptibility to infection, emerge, and a neo-feudal system is established. We suggest that it is possible to evaluate how likely a dystopian outcome is by using Machiavelli’s understanding of the impact of the Plague on medieval Florence. We also recommend following his advice to avoid such a drift by reaffirming the primacy of politics over scientism.


This article was originally published in Sociologica, volume 14, issue 3, in 2021.

This scholarship is part of the Chapman University COVID-19 Archives.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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