Social Representations of “Normality”: Everyday Life in Old and New Normalities with Covid-19

  • Francesca Emiliani
  • Alberta Contarello
  • Sonia Brondi
  • Laura Palareti
  • Stefano Passini University of Bologna
  • Diego Romaioli
Keywords: lived experience, social representations, new normality, COVID-19, quali-quantitative methods


Several icons express the experiences of daily life at the time of Covid-19. Among them, "astronauts in their own home” recalls a twirl of bodies in a vacuum bubble. Aware of the structuring power of everyday life, we analysed how people were living the experience of lockdown at home and if and how a social representation of a new normality would emerge. We carried out two studies in the Italian context. In the first, 223 participants narrated their lived experience in the first phases of lockdown. Bymeans of textual analysis (Reinert’s method), the corpus returned four lexical worlds focusing on emotions produced by the suspension, need of a new awareness, effort to readjust to the situation, and the organizing power of routines. A thorough readingfocused on women’s narratives enhanced the structuring power of everyday life, both at a personal and at a societal level, including new collective rituals and appointments. The second study enrolled 214 participants and explored the advanced phase of the lockdown. Participants answered a free association task to the stimulus-word new normality. The resulting corpus, analysed via correspondence analysis, gave rise to five dimensions pertaining various aspects such as constraints, opportunities, challenges, again both at an individual and at a societal level. In conclusion, underlining the reverberations on the psychosocial plane of the suspension of everyday life and their relation with emotional, cognitive, relational and societal assets, our contributions highlight the relationships between lived experience and social representations.