To read this content please select one of the options below:

Feeling and (Dis)trusting in Modern, Post-Truth, Pandemic Times

aResearch Centre for Public Health, Equity and Human Flourishing, Torrens University Australia
bTorrens University Australia

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


During the COVID-19 pandemic, trust considerations have been amplified to levels not seen in most of our lifetimes. We have been asked to trust: epidemiologists, virologists and immunologists in terms of the nature of COVID-19 transmission and vaccinations; politicians, public health planners and policymakers in terms of the need for various responses such as lockdowns, school closures, border closures and economic recovery plans; media sources in terms of accurately reporting COVID-19 news; and members of our community in terms of doing their best to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 transmission, including mask wearing, hand washing, isolating and social/physical distancing. Within this chapter, we attempt to explore the emotional responses to this complex web of trust considerations from qualitative data in a study we conducted amidst the beginning of the pandemic. We then offer some interpretations about how trust considerations may have been altered as a result of living in and through the pandemic. We suggest that trust can be a primary emotion, or at least function that way during times of crises, and be (reflexively) deployed by citizens to manage emotional repertoires during crisis and to position themselves as responsible neoliberal citizens. We add understanding about the strains in horizontal/interpersonal trust relations during a pandemic – where the virus spreading between people necessitates social and relational distancing measures for containment – and inflames questions about whether or not we can trust each other.



Foley, K., Lunnay, B. and Ward, P.R. (2023), "Feeling and (Dis)trusting in Modern, Post-Truth, Pandemic Times", 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. 211-232.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Kristen Foley, Belinda Lunnay and Paul R. Ward. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited