Just Sociology

Social Fragmentation and Division During COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a significant impact, not just on people’s health, but also on social practices and interactions. Social fragmentation and division have become widespread issues that have been highlighted during the pandemic.

This article will explore this theme in depth, starting with the evidence of people not obeying social distancing rules, social isolation, selective kinds of social activities, new norms about social interaction, and divisions according to income and employment status, culminating in potential hostility towards tourists and asylum seekers.

Social Fragmentation and Division

Evidence of People Not Obeying Social Distancing

Despite directives issued by health officials to maintain social distancing, numerous people have been observed ignoring them. This noncompliance has been documented through photos circulated on social media of overcrowded parks, restaurants, and tube carriages in several countries, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom.

Social Isolation and Selective Kind of Social Interaction

For individuals who are susceptible to the virus, social isolation is a necessary precaution. Still, it has forced many to adapt to a selective kind of social interaction via social media platforms, smartphones, smart TVs, and other types of technology.

Nevertheless, this has meant that people are now leading private life-worlds rather than spending time in public spaces.

New Norms About Social Interaction

New norms with respect to social interaction have arisen as society struggles to contain the spread of the virus. People may be seen as potential carriers and sometimes treated like social pariahs.

Online petitions to detain those who do not follow social distancing rules, and stockpiling, exacerbate matters.

Divisions by Income and Employment Status

Workers in the public sector have faced higher risks because they need to interact frequently with people who might be carrying the virus. On the other hand, workers in the private sector and the self-employed have had to lose their jobs during the quarantine period.

Lower incomes and precarious employment are also exacerbating existing social divisions.

Potential Hostility Towards Tourists and Asylum Seekers

Travelling abroad has left tourists scrutinized, forcing some countries to adapt regulations against them. Asylum seekers, too, have faced hostility, increasingly confined to their dorms and often facing inadequate medical care.

Functionalist Analysis and Late-Modern Society

Functionalist Analysis No Longer Relevant

Functionalist analysis affirms that society is a system of interconnected parts, and each part has a crucial function. However, this idea has raised doubts given the recent global pandemic.

Rather than the system working in sync towards a common goal, the virus has disrupted society’s functioning.

Alternative Perspectives for Understanding CoronaVirus

Ulrich Becks “Risk Society” thesis contends that the modern world’s risks are not due to natural threats, but a result of technological advancements. Unexpectedly, the COVID-19 pandemic, which seemed to be a natural threat, has become a significant technological problem.

Global technology has limited Nation States’ control, making countries vulnerable to becoming powerless in dealing with the virus. Anthony Giddens “Global Problems, Global Solutions” proposes that with the worlds increasing interconnectivity, problems must be resolved in a cooperative manner across internationally.


The COVID-19 pandemic has increased social fragmentation and division, challenging existing social practices, and highlighting the value of technology in facilitating social interactions. The pandemic has also demonstrated the limitations of traditional functionalist analysis and given rise to alternative perspectives such as the Risk Society thesis and Global problems, Global Solutions.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant social fragmentation and division, with people grappling with new norms regarding social interaction and isolation, divisions according to employment and income status, and potential hostility towards tourists and asylum seekers. The pandemic has also challenged traditional functionalist analysis, leading to alternative perspectives regarding understanding the crisis’s implications.

As we navigate these challenging times, it is essential to stay informed and adapt to the changes continually taking place.



What is social fragmentation, and how has it been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic? Social fragmentation is characterized by divisions and isolation among individuals and communities.

The pandemic has heightened these divisions, with social distancing becoming an essential measure to stem the virus’s spread. 2.

How has social interaction changed during the pandemic? The pandemic has forced people to adapt to new norms regarding social distancing and isolation, leading to selective kinds of social interaction via technology, private life-worlds, and reduced public engagement.

3. What is functionalist analysis, and how is it relevant during the pandemic?

Functionalist analysis posits that society is a system of interconnected parts, and each part has a specific function. The pandemic has challenged this traditional system, creating disruption across different social elements.

4. What are some alternative perspectives that have emerged during the pandemic?

Alternative perspectives include the Risk Society thesis and Global Problems, Global Solutions, which challenge traditional functionalist analyses and propose new ways to understand and address the pandemic’s implications. 5.

What can we do to navigate the disruptions caused by the pandemic effectively? Staying informed about the situation, adapting to new norms and practices, and fostering a sense of community and compassion towards others are essential steps in navigating the pandemic’s disruptions.

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