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Recovery from the pandemic will be long and painful for both individuals and society. People have lost loved ones as well as jobs, businesses and livelihoods, developed long-term complications ('long covid'), or suffered mental trauma (e.g. as health or care workers). Society has taken a major economic hit. Leisure and social activities we used to take for granted are now banned or risky. Religious services can no longer involve singing—or at least, not in the way it used to happen. Trips abroad are often impossible without quarantine. Society is deeply polarised over issues such lockdown, masks, school closures, and mass events. The introduction of vaccine certificates will, according to some, create a 'medical apartheid' with the unvaccinated excluded from public spaces.

This DPhil is an opportunity for a researcher with a background in—for example—anthropology, sociology or the humanities to explore an aspect of recovery from Covid in a way that considers both individuals and society. Possible methods might include one or more of the following:

  • Ethnography in the home, in which families work with the researcher to produce a story of their recovery journey using photographs, writing, drawings and objects.
  • Textual analysis of media publications—for example to explore h writings of a particular social, ethnic or religious group
  • Action research with communities
  • Exploration of online networks eg. long covid support groups

The above are only suggestions; applicants are invited to propose their own ideas. Priority will be given to applications that focus on the experiences and needs of groups most badly affected by the pandemic—which include (but are not limited to) Black and minority ethnic groups, the elderly, those living in socio-economically deprived areas and those working in casualised ('gig-economy') jobs. The successful candidate will work in the IRIHS (Interdisciplinary Research In Health Sciences) research group.

Supervisors will be selected from our diverse team which includes doctors, nurses, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, philosophers and health economists.