Vernacular covid customs and creative interventions in England - March – June 2020

ROBINSON, Andrew (2021). Vernacular covid customs and creative interventions in England - March – June 2020. In: Perspectives on Contemporary Legend, International Society for Contemporary Legend Research 38th International Conference, Tarragona, Spain (online), 28 Jun 2021 - 2 Jul 2021. International Society for Contemporary Legend Research. (Unpublished)

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The Covid-19 crisis of 2020-2021 has resulted in numerous communal and individual responses to the impact of coronavirus and the resulting lockdown across the U.K. that have been widely shared and often copied in both the physical and online worlds. Many of these activities developed spontaneously as new customs and rituals, from the communal clapping on Thursday evenings, to the display of rainbow drawings and teddy bears in front windows and the appearance of scarecrows in gardens and beside roads. Simultaneously, online communities have circulated Covid-19 related memes including cartoons, narratives, rumours, conspiracy theories and contemporary legends. The lockdowns and restrictions resulting from this crisis have also forced the cancelation of many of the traditional calendar customs and communal events still observed across the U.K. often for the first time in a generation or more. Others have moved online, been marked by small scale private observances or found some other form of communal expression. As Rafael Behr noted this is not a superficial aspect of the Covid-19 crisis, as ‘societies are shaped by custom and ritual as much as they are held together by legislation’ (The Guardian 23 April 2020). Their cultural significance was also recognised by HM The Queen in her March 2020 broadcast when she referred to the need for the country to pull together and evoked a sense of national identity. She suggested that new traditions and customs are an expression of ‘our national spirit’ that will help to define the country’s future. This paper reviews a selection of examples of online and physical responses to the Covid-19 lockdown as contemporary customs and ritual and consider the different ways in which traditional customs adapted to the limitations imposed by central government.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Additional Information: We are waiting on the presentation slides to be provided by the author.
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2022 14:07
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2022 14:15

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