Transformations of Social Control in Pandemic Times – Reasons for Hope Beyond Science: Editorial
Keywordssocial control, religious freedom, postmodernism, political community, pandemic times, COVID-19, loneliness, Metaverse, lockdown
Postmodernity has brought new forms of social control which are exercised through new forms of communication. Paradoxically, however, postmodernity also seemed to be heading towards the exaltation of the individual in their absolute freedom. The 20th century pushed, in the name of science and progress, the secularization of Western societies, often distancing people from their traditional community ties, including ties to the ecclesial community. Thus, the postmodern individual initially appeared free of ancestral community pressures. However, subtle new forms of social control have replaced traditional ones. Mechanisms such as social media, new forms of work and sexual exploitation, or the impossibility of maintaining privacy in the face of the power of private and public corporations, thus expose the individual to the asocial elements. Frequently, these new social control mechanisms (a clear example being the leadership of the WHO in the policies implemented worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic) are presented to us not as repressive, but scientifically and paternally protective. In this context, the vindication of religious freedom and the community experience of faith represent decisive touchstones for the vitality and validity of a social and political order in which the personal being is truly the highest value.
The authors of this monograph are professors, some of them with twenty or thirty years of university teaching, others halfway between Generation X and Y, but all with a deep vocation as teachers called to understanding the world around them. A vocation to collaborate with their students so that the seed of love for the knowledge of reality and the joyful experience of contact with the truth may bear fruit in them. Such an experience only makes sense as a shared experience. And this is what the authors of this monograph usually do: share their concerns, worries, and research. In formal terms, this shared experience has been developing in recent times under the mantle of research projects such as the one that forms the basis of this issue of Scientia et Fides: “Social Control, Postmodernism and Political Community” (COSOPOC). Sharing the results of their research is also a way of inviting the specialized public to this experience without forgetting that the first circle of this community work is formed by the students themselves, whom this monograph aims to serve as a stimulus in their personal trajectories as students, as future professionals and, above all, as people in charge of their actions and responsible and capable of facing the worrying challenges that face us all.
(from the Editorial)
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