Trust and Civic Engagement in the Italian COVID-19 Lockdown

Sandro Stanzani


The paper presents considerations on the possible consequences associated with the lockdown condition that ensued on the coronavirus pandemic. On the one hand, the infection brought about a notable intensification of primary relationships, in particular within the family and the domestic space in general, while, on the other hand and especially at the start, it generated strong symbolic integration, shown for example by events such as flashmobs and other forms of the grassroot involvement of individuals.

Through empirical research data, we will attempt to understand to what extent the cultural climate prevalent in Italy through March and April influenced the attitudes of the Italians in terms of general interpersonal trust or trust in the institutions, as well as in terms of culture and civic engagement. For this purpose, the paper uses data taken from two empirical research on a sample of about 1,000 cases among the Italian population. It will be compared the evidence resulting from a first survey realized at the end of 2017 and the data collected in a second survey carried out on a sample of the same size (that presents a panel quota of 700 cases) ending on April 30 2020, i.e., at the end of the lockdown period.

The variables to be analysed are relative to general interpersonal trust, trust in the institutions and civic engagement activities.

Such items will function as dependent variables and will be analysed in a diachronic perspective comparing the two panel samples. Furthermore, they will be observed in relation to their distribution throughout Italy, to the age of the interviewees and to their civil status, in an attempt to discover any connection between family life and the attitude towards civil society, keeping in mind the dynamics triggered in everyday life by the pandemic.


trust; civic engagement; Italian lockdown

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