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Courage, Risks and Dating in the COVID-19 Crisis

Poul Poder (Copenhagen University, Denmark)

The Emerald Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions for a Post-Pandemic World

ISBN: 978-1-80382-324-9, eISBN: 978-1-80382-323-2

Publication date: 14 April 2023


This chapter explores courage as an emotionally involved form of action. The notion of courage is challenging as we have physical, psychological, moral and existential forms of courage but also because what engenders courageous actions is still somewhat of a puzzle within social science. Firstly, I introduce the main forms and explanations of courage. Secondly, dating is discussed to illustrate how courage is an important analytical category to understand people's actions. In dating persons often overcome their fear of being rejected. During the COVID-19 crisis, new insecurities and fears were added to the practice of dating which now could imply both fear of being infected and fear of moral condemnation by others who would consider dating a morally irresponsible behaviour. Thirdly, I discuss theoretical and methodological implications of a mini analysis of a story about active and direct dating interactions during the first lockdown period in Denmark during the COVID-19 crisis. Often courage is thought of as so extraordinary that it is not part of people's ordinary social life. But it is not. People do experience situations that call forth courage, which implies overcoming fear and insecurity in striving to realise goals more important than avoiding feeling such uncomfortable emotions – situations in which they cannot merely rely on routine and/or self-confidence and others' trust. Consequently, this chapter explains how and why courage is an important analytical category for the sociological enterprise. Finally, the conclusion offers some reflections concerning courage and dating in future neo-COVID predicaments and how courage can be studied methodologically speaking.



Poder, P. (2023), "Courage, Risks and Dating in the COVID-19 Crisis", Ward, P.R. and Foley, K. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions for a Post-Pandemic World, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 91-111.



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Copyright © 2023 Poul Poder. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited