Pandemics Prey on Fears, Both Legitimate and Illegitimate

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"Overall, Americans’ fears about pandemics were relatively stable before 2020 (Figure 1), and were nowhere near the top of the list in terms of what Americans feared the most. No doubt nearly everyone is afraid of a pandemic now that we are living through one. Still, the patterns of fear before the arrival of COVID-19 provide an opportunity to gain some sociological insight into people’s anxieties about pandemics, and also help us understand some of the specific patterns we now find in midst of the pandemic. In particular, we want to focus on two aspects: legitimate fears about economic inequality and illegitimate fears about malevolent conspiracies."


This article was originally published in Contexts on October 29, 2020.

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


American Sociological Association