Generation Corona? Biographical Future Perspectives and Distant Socializing in the Social Web Generation


The crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly one of the most dramatic historical caesura since World War II - not only in Europe and other OECD societies - but worldwide. The extent of the crisis is not only spatially global, but it also led to considerable changes in behavior in civil society contexts in all affected countries in a very short time, which consist of a nationwide "lockdown" and the behavioral norms of "social distancing". 

Therefore, the question arises as to how citizens perceive the crisis and the health risks it poses as such, but above all how they react to the norm complex of "social distancing," i.e., how they perceive it, position themselves to it and behave towards it with more or less acceptance. The crisis itself affects not only different parts of the population to a greater or lesser extent ("risk groups"), but the political measures imposed on population groups impose different efforts and costs. 

Our research project is particularly interested in one aspect: The crisis affects the perception of the near future, which people have imagined to depend on their situation, age and previous life plans. Within the framework of the crisis and the measures associated with it, one's own life plans can be realized with varying degrees of "ease" or "difficulty". 

It is therefore extremely important to understand how people in our society perceive the possibility of continuing to pursue their previous life plans or not. On which conditions and circumstances do people in our society make this dependent? Which groups are particularly sensitive to this problem? Who feels well equipped to achieve their previous goals, who is less well equipped? What role does support from others play in this situation?) Which means are available to individuals to ensure the support of others? For example, do new communication media help? Does the confidence to stick to one's previous plans depend on the confidence and practice of using new media? Does this differ, for instance, due  to the age and generational affiliation of the people or due to the level of education? Or does it also depend on the fact that central life references and life contents as well as social relationships that were connected with them have broken away during the Corona crisis?

We therefore suspect that the population does not react homogeneously to a historically unique crisis, but rather - depending on their social position - perceives it very differently. In particular, the perception of a crisis as threat, loss or risk vs. challenge and opportunity differs greatly depending on the social position. Thus, we aim to interview as many people as possible from very different groups in an open conversation online or by telephone in our research project . We are interested and excited about each individual interview. You can find more about our research project under ...