In this chapter we explore the concept of uncertainty through an analysis of 40 interviews with midlife women during pandemic lockdown restrictions in South Australia in early 2020. Participants described how COVID-19 induced fear and uncertainty in their lives and what they did to respond. We analyse our findings utilising the analogy of a pleasure boat weathering a stormy sea, to explore how women managed uncertainty in COVID-19, borrowing this analogy from Davison’s seminal work on the prevention paradox. Firstly, we show how women’s COVID-19 pandemic lives ensued great uncertainty—a sea of uncertainty surrounding their boat—encompassing the unclear aetiology of the virus, the illness, the management via lockdowns and the future. Second, we illuminate how the perceived uncertainty around COVID-19 required women to search for control within the realm of control available to them, given their life context/s. Finally, the idea of ‘COVID candidacy’ emerged as a protective device, to create (an illusion of) control and make the boat feel safer. Our analysis shows that women were trying their best (in difficult circumstances) to re-build and maintain boats that would weather the storms, to prevent them from sinking into uncertainty and to increase their certainty and control during current and future pandemic waves.
|Title of host publication||Covid-19 and the Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty : Studies of Social Phenomena and Social Theory Across 6 Continents|
|Editors||Patrick R. Brown, Jens O. Zinn|
|Place of Publication||Cham|
|Publisher||Springer International Publishing AG|
|Number of pages||24|
|Publication status||Published - 2022|