Ontological security describes a state in which individuals feel that their life has meaning, which they and others understand and share; in which their life and continued existence is secure; and in which their sense of self is stable. In social life, this security is challenged from time to time, and acutely so in certain extreme circumstances. This essay argues that the experience of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, with its concomitant mortality and the response of government, have served to challenge ontological security. At the start of lockdown and in the weeks that followed, the government's strategy undermined that sense of security as well as trust in government itself. As the pandemic continued this had quite different consequences for different segments of the population, and these consequences may in turn interact with the disease itself.


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pp. 316-337
Launched on MUSE
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