Family and Family Relations at the Time of COVID-19: An Introduction


  • Paola Di Nicola University of Verona, Italy
  • Elisabetta Ruspini University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy



COVID-19, family relations, family


They do not come from another planet and they are not born out of thin air. The perpetrators of the next pandemic are already among us, they are viruses that today affect animals but that could at any moment make a leap of species – a spillover in technical jargon – and also affect humans...’ These words, taken from a review, feature in the blurb for the Italian translation of David Quammen’s Spillover. Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, published by Adelphi in 2014 two years after the original English edition. Given the experience that the whole world is currently living through, it may sound like a self-fulfilling prophecy has transformed the projections of the near or distant future in many science-fiction films into reality. Instead, though, the sentences actually lead us back to a distant past in antiquity and the Middle Ages when social isolation and distancing were adopted as measures to contain and fight the plague, a long-term epidemic that spread throughout Europe, tragically decimating the population and drastically slowing down economic and social development with negative repercussions that lasted for decades. The rapidity of the spread of the current pandemic and the difficulty in stemming the flow bring to mind the thinking of two scholars of modernity: Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens. While the former underlines that risks become global in an increasingly globalised and interconnected society, the latter stresses that issues of trust and risk have changed in late modernity, and that many of these risks are the result of the ever-more invasive and aggressive impact of man on the environment.  [...] 

Author Biographies

Paola Di Nicola, University of Verona, Italy

Department of Human Sciences

Elisabetta Ruspini, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy

Department of Sociology and Social Research




How to Cite

Di Nicola, P., & Ruspini, E. (2020). Family and Family Relations at the Time of COVID-19: An Introduction. Italian Sociological Review, 10(3S), 679.




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