COVID-19 and Social Control




The COVID-19 pandemic has once again brought into relief and tension the delicate balancing act modern governments must strike in assuring individual liberties of its citizens, while at the same time dealing with infectious diseases and other public health risks. It is not clear how best to strike this balance, or how to judge which countries are doing an adequate job and which others are failing (on either or both fronts). What is clear, however, is that by virtue of it being available to the state, public health is based not merely on medical expertise but also on power, insofar as it part of the regulative apparatus of the administrative state which can be implemented by decree at the behest of the executive.


pandemic, public health, social control, law and politics, administrative law, separation of powers, Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, paradigms, knowledge and interests, J端rgen Habermas, Giorgio Agamben, history of medicine


Download data is not yet available.


  1. Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, translated by D. Heller-Roazen. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

  2. Agamben, Giorgio. 2016. The Use of Bodies, translated by A. Kotsko. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

  3. Agamben, Giorgio and Adam Kotsko. 2020. “Giorgio Agamben on Health Scare and the Religion of Science.” Inscriptions vol. 3, article 72 (July 2020):1-5.

  4. Alfani, Guido and Tommy E. Murphy. 2017. “Plague and Lethal Epidemics in the Pre-industrial World.” Journal of Economic History 77 (1):314-343.

  5. Baehr, Peter. 2019. The Unmasking Style in Social Theory. New York: Routledge.

  6. Barnes, Barry. 1977. Interests and the Growth of Knowledge. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

  7. Bendix, Reinhard. 1962. Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait. Garden City, NJ: Anchor Books.

  8. Chambliss, William J. 1964. “A Sociological Analysis of the Law of Vagrancy.” Social Problems 12 (1):67-77.

  9. Chow, Siu L. 1998. “Précis of Statistical Significance: Rationale, Validity, and Utility.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21:169-239.

  10. Chriss, James J. 2013. Social Control: An Introduction, 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

  11. Chriss, James J. 2015. “Social Marketing as Social Control.” Pp. 151-174 in Handbook of Persuasion and Social Marketing, edited by D.W. Stewart. New York: Praeger.

  12. Chriss, James J. 2016a. “The Expressive Revolution and the University: Parsons vs. Gouldner.” Pp. 55-71 in Anthem Companion to Talcott Parsons, edited by A.J. Treviño. London: Anthem Press.

  13. Chriss, James J. 2016b. Confronting Gouldner: Sociology and Political Activism. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.

  14. Chriss, James J. 2018. “Political Violence in Historical Perspective.” Pp. 1015- 1029 in Sage Handbook of Political Sociology, edited by W. Outhwaite and S. Turner. London: Sage.

  15. Chriss, James J. 2019. “Social Control: History of the Concept.” Pp. 9-22 in Handbook of Social Control, edited by M. Deflem. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell.

  16. Chriss, James J. 2020a. Law and Society: A Sociological Approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  17. Chriss, James J. 2020b. “Religion as Social Control: Parsons and Foucault.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 16 (7):1-46.

  18. Coppola, M., Immacolata, S., & Masullo, G. (2020). Parents in Pandemic: parents’ perceptions of risks and psychological, relational, and pedagogical needs in childhood during the COVID-19 emergency in Italy. Academicus International Scientific Journal, 22

  19. Czeisler, Mark E. et al. 2020. “Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic—United States, June 24-30, 2020.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 69. N. 32, pp. 1049-

  20. Foucault, Michel. 1977. Discipline and Punish, translated by A. Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books.

  21. Foucault, Michel. 2007. Security, Territory, Population, translated by G. Burchell. New York: Picador.

  22. Ferrarotti, F. (2011). Bismarck’s Orphan: The Modern World and Its Destiny, from “Disenchantment” to the “Steel Cage”. Academicus International Scientific Journal, 2(04), 11-34.

  23. Gouldner, Alvin W. 1974a. “Marxism and Social Theory.” Theory and Society 1 (1):17-35.

  24. Gouldner, Alvin W. 1974b. “The Metaphoricality of Marxism and the Contextfreeing Grammar of Socialism.” Theory and Society 1 (4):387-414.

  25. Greene, Shane. 1998. “The Shaman’s Needle: Development, Shamanic Agency, and Intermedicality in Aguaruna Lands, Peru.” American Ethnologist 25 (4):634- 658.

  26. Habermas, Jürgen. 1971. Knowledge and Human Interests, translated by J.J. Shapiro. Boston: Beacon Press.

  27. Habermas, Jürgen. 1973. Theory and Practice, translated by J. Viertel. Boston: Beacon Press.

  28. Habermas, Jürgen. 1987. Theory of Communicative Action, vol. 2, translated by T. McCarthy. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

  29. Hamburger, Philip. 2014. Is Administrative Law Unlawful? Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

  30. Haugaard, Mark. 2013. “Power and Hegemony.” Pp. 239-255 in Sage Handbook of Power, edited by S.R. Clegg and M. Haugaard. Los Angeles: Sage.

  31. Husserl, Edmund. 1970. The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, translated by D. Carr. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

  32. Jameson, Fredric. 1981. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

  33. Levi-Strauss, Claude. 1949. Les Structures Elementaires de la Parente. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

  34. Lidz, Victor. 2010. “Social Control in Doctor-Patient Relationships: Similarities and Differences across Medical Specialties.” Pp. 149-169 in Social Control: Informal, Legal and Medical, edited by J.J. Chriss. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

  35. McIntosh, Marjorie Keniston. 1998. Controlling Misbehavior in England, 1370- 1600. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  36. Mehra, Mandeep R., Frank Ruschitzka, and Amit N. Patel. 2020. “Retraction— Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine with or without a Macrolide for Treatment of COVID-19: A Multinational Registry Analysis.” Lancet 395 (10240, P1820):1- 10.

  37. Merton, Robert K. 1968. Social Theory and Social Structure, 1968 enlarged edition. New York: Free Press.

  38. Mollborn, Stefanie. 2017. Mixed Messages: Norms and Social Control around Teen Sex and Pregnancy. New York: Oxford University Press.

  39. Musaraj, Arta. 2020. “The Pandemic and Rhetoric of Organization.” Academicus International Scientific Journal, 22:21-29.

  40. Parsons, Talcott. 1963. “On the Concept of Political Power.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 107 (3):232-262.

  41. Parsons, Talcott. 1964. Social Structure and Personality. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

  42. Parsons, Talcott. 1966. “The Political Aspect of Social Structure and Process.” Pp. 71-112 in Varieties of Political Theory, edited by D. Easton. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

  43. Pérez-González, Luis. 2020. “’Is Climate Science Taking Over the Science?’ A Corpus-based Study of Competing Stances on Bias, Dogma, and Expertise in the Blogosphere.” Nature – Humanities & Social Sciences Communications 7 (92):1-16.

  44. Platt, Anthony M. 2009. The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency, 40th Anniversary Edition. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

  45. Popper, Karl. 1945. “The Poverty of Historicism, III.” Economica, New Series 12 (46):69-89.

  46. Rehberg, K. S., & Aliberti, S. M. (2020). Personality and Institution-Reflections on paradigmatic structures in Max Weber’s thinking. Academicus International Scientific Journal, (21), 131-141.

  47. Schmitt, Carl. 2007 [1932]. The Concept of the Political, translated by G. Schwab. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  48. Sheptycki, James. 2020. “The Politics of Policing a Pandemic Panic.” Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology 53 (2):157-173.

  49. Slack, Paul. 2020. “Responses to Plague in Early Modern Europe: The Implications of Public Health.” Social Research 87 (2):409-428.

  50. Spencer, Herbert. 1897. Principles of Sociology, vol. II-3. New York: Appleton.

  51. Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium. 2020. “Comment: Impacts of COVID-19 on Childhood Malnutrition and Nutrition-Related Mortality.” Lancet, vol. 396, pp. 519-521.

  52. Sumner,William Graham. 1906. Folkways. Boston, MA: Ginn and Co.

  53. Swedberg, Richard. 1998. Max Weber and the Idea of Economic Sociology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  54. Turner, Stephen P. 2003. Liberal Democracy 3.0. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  55. Turner, Stephen P. 2013. “The Blogosphere and Its Enemies: The Case of Oophorectomy.” Sociological Review 61 (S2):160-179.

  56. Varul, Matthias Zick. 2010. “Talcott Parsons, the Sick Role and Chronic Illness.” Body & Society 16 (2):72-94.

  57. Wagner, Helmut R. 1963. “Types of Sociological Theory: Toward a System of Classification.” American Sociological Review 28 (5):735-742.

  58. Ward, Lester F. 1883. Dynamic Sociology, two volumes. New York: Appleton.

  59. Wark, Colin and John F. Galliher. 2007. “Emory Bogardus and the Origins of the Social Distance Scale.” American Sociologist 38:383-395.

  60. Weber, Max. 1968 [1920]. Economy and Society, volume one, edited by G. Roth and C. Wittich. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  61. Weisheit, Ralph A. and John M. Klofas. 1998. “The Public Health Approach to Illicit Drugs.” Criminal Justice Review 23 (2):197-207.




How to Cite

Chriss, J. (2021) “COVID-19 and Social Control”, Academicus International Scientific Journal. Vlora, Albania, 12(23), pp. 21–40. doi: 10.7336/academicus.2021.23.02.