1st Edition

Modernity and the Pandemic Decivilization, Imperialism, and COVID-19

By Sean Creaven Copyright 2024

    Modernity and the Pandemic: Decivilization, Imperialism, and COVID-19 applies the tools of critical social theory to make sense of the COVID-19 crisis and presents a critical sociological analysis of aspects of the political and community response to the pandemic.

    The book focuses on key themes integral to a sociology of pandemics in the “global” age. Firstly, Creaven argues that cultures of individualism and consumerism, and of pervasive and deeply entrenched social inequalities (that is, decivilization), significantly weaken the cause of public health by weakening the compliance of people with state-mandated non-pharmaceutical interventions (including and especially physical distancing rules) and encouraging vaccine hesitancy. Secondly, Creaven examines how interstate competition and imperial politics have undermined an effective global policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Policy failure with regard to the management of the pandemic is interpreted as being rooted in the dominance of neoliberal ideology and governance in the politics of international relations, particularly in the politics of the leading state actors, by protecting corporate interests at the expense of public health, and in the constraints imposed on state actors by the competitive dynamic of multinational capitalism in the “global” age. 

    Modernity and the Pandemic will appeal to scholars in the humanities and social sciences with interests in neoliberalism and its social, cultural, and epidemiological impacts. 


    1 Neoliberalism, capitalism, and imperialism

    2 The pandemic in international relations

    3 Decivilization and society

    4 Decivilization and the pandemic



    Sean Creaven is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at the University of the West of England, UK. His research interests include the sociology of modernity and postmodernity, sociological theory, critical theory, Marxism and post-Marxism, critical realism, and criminological theory. He is the author of The Pandemic in Britain: COVID-19, British Exceptionalism and Neoliberalism (Routledge, 2023), Against the Spiritual Turn: Marxism, Realism, and Critical Theory (Routledge, 2010), Emergentist Marxism: Dialectical Philosophy and Social Theory (Routledge, 2007), and Marxism and Realism: A Materialistic Application of Realism in the Social Sciences (Routledge, 2000).