Disruption, slowness, and collective effervescence: children's perspectives on COVID-19 lockdowns

Tobia Fattore*, Gabrielle Drake, Jan Falloon, Jan Mason, Lise Mogensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The COVID-19 pandemic represented not only a health crisis, but a social crisis for children, one that has disrupted notions of what a good childhood is. However, the longer-term implications of the pandemic are still to be seen, for children, their families and communities. This article is concerned with what these ongoing changes may be, based on a qualitative multi-stage study that asks children about their experiences of well-being before the pandemic, during lockdowns and post-COVID-19 lockdowns. This included asking seven children in online semi-structured interviews about what aspects of life brought on by COVID-19 restrictions they would like to see continue post-lockdown. We outline some of our findings. We describe new rituals and ways of organising time developed by children, facilitated by the use of digital technologies. We describe these new ways of managing time as task-based rather than rule-based, with children experiencing slowness of and greater control over their time. We found that lockdowns provided a possibility for children to assert a public agency through banal acts of sociability, for example, by conforming to public health measures such as mask-wearing and hand-washing. Whilst small acts, children discussed these in terms of being moral agents (protecting the safety of others) and as part of a larger civic attitude they observed around them. Thus, their acts can be seen as expressions of larger forms of social solidarity that contributed to a sense of collective effervescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-413
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Crown 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Childhood vulnerability
  • Children and time use
  • Children as citizens
  • Children’s experiences of COVID-19


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