Features of the national quarantine

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Features of the national quarantine

Features of the national quarantine

How do different societies behave in an epidemic? Social psychologist, professor at Columbia University Svetlana Komissaruk spoke about this in an interview with the Russian Service &# 171; Voices of America&# 187;

Ksenia Turkova. Comparing Russians and Americans, we react differently to the current situation.?

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Svetlana Komissaruk. You know, now all social psychologists are reacting and hone their theories by explaining what is happening to society. One of the theories belongs to Michelle Gelfand – her book was recently translated into Russian. She explains that those societies that lived very crowded, which had a large epidemiological threat, were used to obeying and used to “building up”, solving problems together. These are the so-called rule-of-thumb societies. These include Germany, Norway, Singapore, Korea, China, Japan. These are countries in which, as a rule, hours are running exactly, where people do not switch to red, where it is always quiet in the library, and no one would think of rustling or talking..

Features of the national quarantine

And there are other societies. Societies in which they are calm about the violation of norms, in which everyone is his own head and in which everything is very creative, where people can always find a trap, a loophole. These are Russia, Ukraine, America, Italy, Spain, France. And that, and that warehouse of societies has advantages and disadvantages. But now, when it is necessary to rally against a common enemy (disease), of course, societies with rigid norms and rejection of deviations from the norms win. They have obedience to government, they have confidence in government. And they have to obey right in their cultural code: that’s why they sit at home, wear masks, wash their hands and don’t stick out.

In those societies that in times of peace are distinguished by creativity and creativity, a large number of small businesses, scientific discoveries – in them this “I am my own boss” plays a bad role. And that is why now the situation is like that in America and in Russia (God forbid, they will orient themselves and will behave without relying on the Russian “maybe”).

K.T. There is probably a mixed type?

Svetlana Komissaruk

S.K. Yes, there are some ambidexter countries that can creatively solve problems (in normal, “peacetime” times), and rally and comply with the norms. It seems to me that this is happening in Israel.

K.T. But why are post-Soviet societies ranked as “disobedient”? After all, Soviet people are accustomed to obey, obey and trust what – conditionally – the newspaper Pravda writes..

S.K. In societies with rigid norms (Germany, China, Korea) there is a consensus about who to listen to and who is right. In societies such as America, Russia, Italy, Ukraine, there is a wide range of criticism of the government, everyone chooses their own resource of information. And when there is no absolute prohibition, everyone behaves as they see fit..

In societies with strict adherence to norms, people have this sense of cooperation right under the cortex. There, it would not occur to a person to quickly run to the store, if it is impossible: he understands that he may pose a danger to someone. And in other societies, in big cities, disunity and the absence of the concept that we are together is so great that, unfortunately, man is a wolf to man. Every man for himself. I don’t want to idealize China, for example. It is possible that there were some attempts at violations. But the general norms are so strict that this person will rather be an exception. And most importantly, his non-compliance with the norms will be condemned by the whole environment. We have it less pronounced.

K.T. It seems to me that a lot of things are mixed in the head of a post-Soviet person, which is activated in such situations. Another feature is that we look everywhere for a conspiracy.

S.K. Yes, usually a conspiracy is sought by those who do not trust, albeit subconsciously, the objectivity of information, who are used to being deceived. If people do not trust the media and do not believe in the effectiveness of the government, they start looking for an underlying reason. And the more terrible the situation, the easier they find an explanation that dot the i, no matter how terrible the explanation is, it is better than uncertainty. Rather than sitting and wondering what the real numbers are, how many people have died, how many are actually infected, whether they hide information, whether medicine will cope, it is easier to find some kind of secret conspiracy that will explain everything, and finally “everything will become clear.” Anyone who finds uncertainty intolerable tends to seek conspiracy theories.

K.T. And what else is “Soviet” that is activated at such moments??

S.K. You know, many people complain that their quarantine plans are completely unrealizable (or not yet fulfilled). We, “Soviet”, set a high standard for ourselves and then eat ourselves out for not taking it. We didn’t learn Sanskrit, didn’t go to all the virtual museums in the world, didn’t listen to opera, didn’t start doing yoga, planned to clean up the closet, but still didn’t get there. This is what makes us different. Now it is hard for everyone, it is psychologically difficult for everyone to tune in and do what they have planned. But we also scold ourselves for this! We are very critical of ourselves, very demanding, and therefore we are irritated all the time and transmit irritation to our loved ones. You need to love yourself, forgive yourself and understand that now there is just such an environment that does not reveal our best features and we are not at the peak of our ability to work, we just need to accept it. We must do the minimum – the one that must be done. And that’s all.

  • Ksenia Turkova

    Journalist, TV and radio host, philologist. She started as a correspondent and presenter on NTV under the leadership of Evgeny Kiselev, worked on TV6, TVS, REN TV, radio stations "Echo of Moscow", "City FM", "Kommersant FM". From 2013 to 2017 she lived and worked in Kiev, participated in the creation of an information radio station "Radio Vesti", directed the Russian-language broadcasting of the Ukrainian channel Hromadske TV, was a host and executive producer. Since 2017 works for "Voice of America" in Washington.

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