Social Distancing v. Physical Distancing – Why is the Term Social Distancing Globally Accepted in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Many measures are being taken during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. One of the primary concepts that appeared throughout the media was “social distancing”. Over the months, this term rose to become an omnipresent catchword, used over and over in the news on TV, the radio, in newspapers and journals as well as in everyday communication. In this article the term “social distancing” will be examined in relation to the term “physical distancing”. Is it “social distancing” or “physical distancing” that is preventing us from being infected with the virus? The term “social distancing” is analysed from a linguistic, socio-historical and psychological point of view and its use is questioned in the context of the dominant imperative. Furthermore, an attempt will be made to uncover when and in which context the term “social distance” was established and why it has been adopted worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas the term “physical distancing”, which the author considers to be more appropriate within the context of the recommended measures, was neglected, even though this is the term the WHO is using in their instructions and guidelines.
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CC Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY4.0)