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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $52.29

Electronic Text
368 pp.


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

COVID-19 and Society

Edited by Katherine Lyon

The only COVID-19 resource created specifically for undergraduate students

Learn more about how to incorporate our modules into your course

COVID-19 and Society teaches core sociological concepts through modules and activities to help students make connections between their own experiences of living through the COVID-19 pandemic and larger local and global social patterns. These 14 modules - available individually or combined - consider how people and societies respond to sweeping, unexpected change, and how people and societies can enact responsive, meaningful changes for the future.

Readership : This text is suitable for students taking any relevant sociology course from a first-year to a fourth-year level at universities.


  • "A very inclusive and relevant book on COVID-19 and society and covers almost every aspect of society. I would highly recommend it for undergrad students."
    --Mehmet Yavuz, University of Winnipeg

  • "The activities invite the students to reflect on their personal experiences and the application to 'self' helps to solidify the learning."
    --Cameile Henry, Sheridan College

  • "This necessary and timely resource encourages students to use their sociological imagination to think about COVID-19 pandemic and the impact this pandemic has had on all aspects of our social lives. This textbook is well-written, accessible and has engaging activities to help get students comfortable with 'committing sociology'."
    --Christine Wojciechowski, University of Waterloo

Note: Each module contains learning objectives, key terms, and references.

Module 1: Demographic Perspectives on COVID-19
Guy Stecklov
ISBN 9780190163617

A comparison of demographic COVID-19 trends across five nations illustrates how population age structure shapes national mortality rates and how COVID-19 is expected to impact birth rates, death rates, and migration patterns.
1.1 Demography: A Brief Introduction
1.2 COVID-19 and Demography: A Comparative Global Perspective
1.3 Population Age Structure and COVID-19
1.4 COVID-19 and Key Demographic Processes
Module 2: Health (In)Equality under COVID-19
Lindsey Richardson
ISBN 9780190163624

This module unpacks the social determinants of health in the COVID-19 context and assesses how the pandemic has interacted with a pre-existing health emergency: the opioid crisis.
2.1 Sociology and Health
2.2 Health Inequity: Background
2.3 Health Inequity: Pandemic Patterns
2.4 Syndemics under COVID-19
Module 3: Race and Racism during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Amanda R. Cheong
ISBN 9780190163631

This module traces the operation of settler colonialism shaping COVID-19 risk for Indigenous peoples and nations and situates pandemic anti-Asian sentiment within Canada's history of Asian exclusion.
3.1 Racism as a Social Determinant of Health: COVID-19 Vulnerability among Indigenous Peoples in Canada
3.2 Contextualizing the Rise of Anti-Asian Racism during the COVID-19 Pandemic within Canada's History of Anti-Asian Exclusion
Module 4: Marginalized Workers under COVID-19: The Case of the Sex Work Industry
Becki Ross
ISBN 9780190163594

This module demonstrates how sex workers-particularly those who are racialized, im/migrant, and Indigenous-seek autonomy and choice under the pandemic as they navigate national sex work regulations, in/access to emergency relief funds, and novel forms of sex work emerging under physical distancing and lockdown.
4.1 Marginalized Workers and the Structuring of Social Vulnerability
4.2 Sex Work: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?
4.3 Roots of the Pandemic Present: Historicizing Sex Work in Vancouver, 1890s-1920s
4.4 Sex Workers under COVID-19: Perils and Possibilities
Module 5: Age, Aging, Aged, and Ageism under COVID-19
Anne Martin-Matthews
ISBN 9780190163648

This module identifies representations of generationalism and "the elderly" within COVID-19 media coverage and analyzes systemic vulnerabilities within Canada's long-term care system exposed by the pandemic.
5.1 Unpacking Generationalism and Ageism under COVID-19
5.2 An Intersectional Lens to COVID-19 and Ageism
5.3 Narratives of Age, Aging, and Ageism: The Framing of Age in COVID-19 Accounts
5.4 Who Matters in a Pandemic? Aging and Long-Term Care in Canada
5.5 A Society for all Ages: Moving Forward With and After COVID-19
Module 6: Social Infrastructure and Social Distancing
Sean Lauer
ISBN 9780190163655

This module discusses how shifts in social infrastructure during the pandemic have impacted the nature of our interactions with our communities and how we are adapting to these changes.
6.1 Physical Distancing, Society, and COVID-19
6.2 Social Infrastructure and Social Distancing
6.3 Social Infrastructure and Relationships
6.4 Why Does Social Infrastructure Matter?
Module 7: Social Network Perspectives on COVID-19
David Tindall
ISBN 9780190163662

This module unpacks social networks as a social determinant of health, explaining how the people around us can impact our wellbeing and global processes under COVID-19.
7.1 Social Networks
7.2 Social Networks and Health
7.3 Homophily under COVID-19: Networking as a Process of Inequality Reproduction
7.4 COVID-19 and the Small World Phenomenon
7.5 Contact Tracing via Social Networks
7.6 Social Capital, Social Networks, and Recovery from COVID-19
Module 8: COVID-19 and Science
François Lachapelle
ISBN 9780190163679

This module situates science as a social institution informed by social processes. Lachapelle explains how social trust shapes public confidence in pandemic scientific expertise and how COVID-19 has exacerbated existing gender disparities in the production of scientific knowledge.
8.1 The Sociology of Science, the Kuhnian Model of Scientific Change, and Shifting Paradigms
8.2 Listening (or Not Listening) to Scientific Experts
8.3 The Participation of Women Scientists in COVID-19 Research: A First Look
Module 9: Economy and Society in the Pandemic Era: The Enduring Insights of Karl Polanyi and Karl Marx
Amy Hanser and Thomas Kemple
ISBN 9780190163686

This module critically interrogates capitalist systems before and under COVID-19 and theorize the possibility of a future for social welfare emerging out of the pandemic.
9.1 Theorizing Economic Inequality under COVID-19
9.2 Economy and Society in a Time of COVID-19
9.3 A Socially Embedded Economy in the Pandemic Era
9.4 Neoliberal Capitalism after COVID-19?
9.5 An Introduction to Neoliberalism Capitalism
Module 10: COVID-19 and Deepening Education Inequalities
Nicole Malette
ISBN 9780190163587

This module traces school closures in Canada during the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic and shows how the COVID-19 pandemic has further entrenched educational inequalities tied to socioeconomic status. It also demonstrates how COVID-19 has contributed to academic setbacks and explores intervention methods that can be used to offset the impact of the pandemic.
10.1 School Closures in Canada Are Not New: Inequalities between Students During the 1918 Spanish Flu
10.2 The Impact of Socioeconomic Status on Academic Achievement
10.3 COVID-19 and Academic Setback
10.4 Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Educational Interventions
Module 11: COVID-19 and Family
Robyn Pitman
ISBN 9780190163693

This module explores three processes shaping relationships under the pandemic: shifts in the division of household labour, exacerbation of existing relationship problems, and an increase in family and domestic violence.
11.1 COVID-19 and Interpersonal Relationships
11.2 Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Changing the Division of Household Labour?
11.3 Relationships Before and During COVID-19
11.4 Intimate Partner Violence During COVID-19
Module 12: COVID-19 and the Media
Jason Rees and Katherine Lyon
ISBN 9780190163709

This module traces how mass media and social media shaped the most digitally-mediated pandemic in human history. Reese and Lyon connection COVID-19 media to pandemic misinformation, panic and xenophobia, and the construction of deviance.
12.1 COVID-19 and the Media: Media Functions and Pandemic
12.2 Disease, the Digital Age, and Social Media
12.3 Panic and Xenophobia
12.4 Social Norms and the Construction of Deviance through Media
12.5 News Cycles and Looking Forward
Module 13: COVID-19 and Quarantine: The Social Construction of Diseased Bodies and the Politics of Containment at Sea
Mikki Stelder and Renisa Mawani
ISBN 9780190163716

This module presents the history of quarantine at sea and how it has been tied to the consolidation of empire, militarism, citizenship, and the racial and colonial production of the nation-state. It examines how maritime law impacted ships at sea during COVID-19, from cruise ships to refugees in distress.
13.1 Quarantine and the Production of Racialized Bodies
13.2 A History of Quarantine at Sea
13.3 COVID-19 and Maritime Legal Orders
13.4 The Virus, the Dinghy, and the Refugee
13.5 The Virus, the Navy Ship, and the Small Island
Module 14: COVID-19 and the Environment
Santa Ono
ISBN 9780190163723

This module reminds us that COVID-19 is not the only crisis the world is facing. Santa Ono shows how the same human activities contribute to the spread of both COVID-19 (and other diseases) and climate change - and that both have unequal impacts on vulnerable communities.
14.1 Sociology and the Environment: A Brief Introduction to Settler Colonialism and Environmental Racism
14.2 The State of the Climate Crisis
14.3 COVID-19 and the Environment
14.4 The Environment and a Post-COVID

Enhanced E-book highlights:
For each module:
- Embedded quizzes at the end of each section in the module to gauge students' understanding
- Links to media resources related to the topic
- 2 classroom-tested activities to have students apply key concepts and reflect on their own experiences
Test Bank:
- Additional multiple-choice questions for each module

Katherine Lyon is an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Sociology department at UBC. She works within the fields of sociology of education and scholarship of teaching and learning, focusing on experiential pedagogies and inclusive assessment. Her current research focuses on student wellness under COVID-19, inclusive assessment practices in multiple choice exams. turning public spaces into learning spaces through emerging media, the accessibility of experiential learning for new international students, and gendered trajectories in engineering education. In 2020, she developed a new course called COVID-19 and Society, on which this project is based, that invites students to examine COVID-19 as a global public issue, considering how pandemics inform social inequality, interpersonal interaction and societal change locally and internationally.

Real-Life Sociology - Anabel Quan-Haase and Lorne Tepperman
Sociology Unlocked - Sara Cumming
Elements of Sociology - John Steckley
Health, Illness, and Medicine in Canada - Juanne Nancarrow Clarke
Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese

Special Features

  • A timely examination of COVID-19 ensures students are studying the recent impacts of the pandemic while it's still happening. The major underlying theme is social change, and all modules use both Canadian and global examples from the pandemic.
  • Fourteen comprehensive modules examine the wide-reaching impact of COVID-19 across various aspects of society, including social networks, the economy, education, and the environment. These modules are available to use individually, allowing instructors to add COVID-19 coverage to any course.
  • An Enhanced E-book format features embedded quizzes, media resource links, and activities to facilitate a higher level of learning in students in both remote and in person learning environments.