“Temporal experience under (and after) “stay at home” orders in Covid-19 in Victoria”
Jack Alan Reynolds (Deakin University )

September 19, 2023, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Deakin University

Deakin Burwood Campus

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Deakin University

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“Temporal experience under (and after) “stay at home” orders in Covid-19 in Victoria”

Professor Jack Reynolds (Deakin) (co-authored with Sarah Pinto and Andrew Singleton)

 Various governments around the world implemented “stay at home” orders in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Aimed at disease control, these spatial constraints (i.e. one cannot leave their house, their 5km zone, their state/country) have also had noted impacts upon experiences of time, including an often reported sense of “slowness” regarding temporal passage, disruptions regarding the extent to which the future is perceived as enticing, and difficulties with judgments of temporal duration, including when we look back upon events in that lock-down period(s) and attempt to order them, or contextualise them within the broader past within which it is situated. Although any temporal changes will vary depending on one’s situation and circumstances (i.e. if one lives alone or not; with work or without; primary care-giver or not; age; gender), we argue that anomalous temporal experiences occurred for many, and, further, that many had a depression-like temporal profile. To make this case, we draw comparison to temporal changes associated with other situations of “lock-down”, notably prisons. We use some phenomenological accounts of temporality to try to understand this, distinguishing between implicit and explicit time experiences, and considering research from Matthew Ratcliffe about the role of temporality in depression. Finally, we report on our own small pilot survey of Victorian university students, who endured one of the longest sets of stay at home orders of the pandemic. Philosophically, we see the way in which external events and physical circumstances co-constitute our experiences of temporality. Socio-politically, these alterations regarding temporal experience also pose some difficult questions about the implications of lock-down policies for well-being, especially amongst vulnerable groups.

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