Imagining the Post-COVID-19 Polity: Narratives of Possible Futures

Jim McAuley, Paul W. Nesbitt-Larking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 crisis is arguably the most important development of the 21st century so far and takes its place alongside the great eruptions of the past century. As with any crisis, the current pandemic has stimulated visions and proposals for post-COVID-19 societies. Our focus is on narratives—both predictive and prescriptive—that envisage post-COVID-19 political societies. Combining narrative analysis with thematic analysis, we argue that societal changes conditioned by the pandemic have accelerated a turn toward five inter-related developments: A renaissance in rationality and evidence-based science; a return to social equality and equity, including wage equity and guaranteed incomes; a reimagining of the interventionist state in response to crises in the economy, society, the welfare state, and social order; a reorientation to the local and communitarian, with reference in particular to solidaristic mutual aid, community animation, local sourcing, and craft production; and the reinvention of democracy through deep participation and deliberative dialogical decision making. The empirical focus of our work is an analysis of predominantly legacy media content from the Canadian Periodicals Index related to life after the pandemic and post-COVID19 society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number346
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number8
Early online date5 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2022


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