Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose


Call for Special Issue Papers


Psychosocial Research in COVID-19 Times

Guest edited by Silvia Posocco and Stephen Frosh
Article Submission Deadline: 1 March 2021

COVID-19 emerged in the public consciousness in March 2020. Whilst the framings and responses to the emergence of this virus have been very diverse globally, the pandemic has had a profound impact on sociality and relationality. It has brought into relief and exacerbated long-standing inequalities, vulnerabilities and exclusions, raised new questions about how social protection might be figured and how to respond to emergent immunitarian logics and the re-making of community in different contexts.

This special issue focuses on critical contributions to thinking through the relations between psychosocial research and the pandemic. It specifically addresses researchers of the psychosocial, as they labour to engage with, think through and re-describe the world in COVID-19 times. Psychosocial research is particularly well-placed to reflect on the conditions of possibility of social worlds in times of crisis. This is due to its commitment to transdisciplinarity, allowing it to draw on perspectives from across the humanities and social sciences, to social critique, and especially to the central location of reflexivity and ethics in psychosocial work.

The contributions in the special issue will seek to address the following questions:

COVID-19: How is COVID-19 being folded into research processes, projects and aspirations? What challenges are there when research plans have to be halted, reoriented and/or radically reconfigured to take account of the new conditions and ‘life in the emergency’? How can psychosocial research respond to legacies of past outbreaks and ongoing crises as these re-surface in and alongside the contemporary moment?

CRITIQUE IN THE EMERGENCY: How is the emergence of Covid-19 testing but also powerfully exercising critical perspectives on the psychosocial? How can analytical and critical capacities be ignited and renewed whilst seeking to think through focus, scale and perspective to stave off the sense of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the crisis (Das 2020)? How have vivid memories of other pandemics - Ebola, HIV/AIDS - been drawn on to inform responses to COVID-19? 

RELATIONS AND ETHICS: How have relationalites shifted and changed, including relations to research objects? What vulnerabilities have arisen and how are the parameters of encounter, ethics and care being reimagined? How are we keeping hold of the world as COVID-19 rewrites boundaries of sensoria and the ethics of touch?

WRITING AND RE-PRESENTING: What are the epistemological, ontological and political implications of the emergence of Covid-19 for psychosocial research? How are writing strategies changing to respond to intensity, numbness, overcrowding or isolation? What experimentations with genre are possible, when the distinctions between social realism and science fiction appear newly tenuous?

FALLOUT: How can psychosocial research address loss and ruination, whilst holding on to ideas of collectivity, accountability and commitment to engaged research for social change? How might we re/engage in thinking, theorising and writing psychosocially on the newly disrupted social landscapes and damaged planet? How can we pick up the fragments and the pieces?

Submisson instructions

We welcome academic articles (5000-7000 words) and shorter, Open Space, contributions (3000-4000 words) from all psychosocial researchers. Learn more about these categories.  We are especially keen to receive submissions from new scholars.

Please read our instructions for authors for guidance on preparing your article then please submit via the Journal’s Editorial Manager site: www.editorialmanager.com/jpss. Please identify your submission as for the special issue (there is a question on that) and also state whether it is an article or open space entry.

For help submitting an article on Editorial Manager, please view our online tutorial.

Selected papers will undergo a double-blind peer-review process, we intend to publish the accepted papers in the October 2021 issue of the journal.

For any queries, contributors are encouraged to contact the Guest Co-Editors Dr Silvia Posocco (s.posocco@bbk.ac.uk) and Prof Stephen Frosh (s.frosh@bbk.ac.uk).