Courage, Risks and Dating in the COVID-19 Crisis
Associate professor Poul Poder has written a chapter to the volume of The Emerald Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions for a Post-Pandemic World edited by Paul R. Ward and Kristen Foley.
The book considers the dynamics and structures of affect as they have been experienced by local and global populations in a time of global health crisis. Advancing a theoretical agenda in the sociology of emotions and drawing from empirical evidence of emotional impacts, the authors cover a range of philosophical and methodological questions about how to study emotions, and why doing so is critical in turbulent times.
This chapter explores courage as an emotionally involved form of action. The notion of courage is challenging as we have physical, psychological, moral, and existential forms of courage but also because what engenders courageous actions is still somewhat of a puzzle within social science.
Firstly, the chapter introduces to the main forms and explanations of courage. Secondly, dating is discussed to illustrate how courage is an important analytical category to understand people’s actions. In dating persons often overcome their fear of being rejected. During the COVID-19 crisis, new insecurities and fears were added to the practice of dating which now could imply both fear of being infected and fear of moral condemnation by others who would consider dating a morally irresponsible behavior.
Thirdly, theoretical, and methodological implications of the chapter’s analysis of a story about active and direct dating interactions during the first lockdown period in Denmark during the COVID-19 crisis are discussed. Often courage is thought of as so extraordinary that it is not part of people’s ordinary social life. But it is not. People do experience situations that call forth courage, which implies overcoming fear and insecurity in striving to realize goals more important than avoiding feeling such uncomfortable emotions – situations in which they cannot merely rely on routine and/or self-confidence and others’ trust.
Consequently, this chapter explains how and why courage is an important analytical category for the sociological enterprise. Finally, the conclusion offers some reflections concerning courage and dating in future neo-COVID predicaments and how courage can be studied methodologically speaking.
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