To total confinement the French responded “social network”! - Patrick Bantman
Patrick Bantman first underlines a paradox: we are talking about a network in a context of confinement. What is a network: it is the set of relationships of an individual, family, social, professional relationships. The word network comes from the Latin "retis" which means net, it evokes intersecting threads, as in a fabric. Grégory Bateson defines the network as the set of significant relationships of an individual, crucial relationships for an understanding of the processes of psychological and social integration, for well-being, for identity and the consolidation of the potential for change. The drawing of the border of the social network is a more or less conscious decision of each one.
The social network is the keystone of identity and well-being, it determines social ties, self-recognition, self-image. It also has an effect on health and on the ability to adapt: to confinement the French responded social network.
During the confinement, the work, the actions, the rhythm... everything came to a sudden stop. The lockdown affected three billion people, impacted macro networks, the communities to which we belong, our society, our economies. The nations froze. Nature has reappeared, pollution has been reduced, families have been separated, modes of exchange and communication have changed, cities have emptied but networks have continued to exist. It is the digital networks which have taken an important place to the point that it was not excluded at certain times from the confinement that the technique cracks under the volume. On Facebook, during the first fifteen days of confinement, publications experienced unprecedented peaks: millions of original publications, retwitts, etc. One difference is essential: before confinement, we talked about social networks but less about the internet. Finally, the digital replaced the lost physical freedom and we even experimented with funeral ceremonies on video.
At the local level, exchanges and mutual assistance have been the subject of numerous initiatives, within families, in buildings, in neighborhoods. Mutual aid platforms between neighbors have been created for printing services, shopping, childcare. The associations have offered mutual aid, for example all the associations of psychologists have offered help by telephone, often free of charge. Some have received a large number of requests.
Medical networks, sometimes set up in a few days, such as Covidum, also responded to numerous requests (60,000 calls for Covidum). The research for the development of the vaccine has benefited from the networks and the mutual aid between scientists.
What are the most common themes in the chats?
The topics in order of importance are as follows:
- Disruption of lifestyles (26%), hearing from each other...
- Sanitary measures (subject no doubt partly linked to the hesitations of the public authorities)
- Political and medical controversies (14%), in France particularly, in other countries political subjects are less present
- Solidarity, humor, advice on good containment plans, humorous content... a lot of creativity and sharing.
It is important to emphasize the protective nature of social and family networks. For couples and families, the network is a support, a resource, a founding base of belonging, which allows giving and receiving, exchanging and sharing. In the context of confinement, certain already difficult situations have been able to deteriorate: faced with frustration, deprivation of freedom, behaviors have been exacerbated, condensed. Parents, children, teenagers were folded up at home, with family. Parents have better understood that they give too much time to the company compared to the family, to what really matters to them.
On the professional level, the extension of teleworking will have to be the subject of an assessment, it has made it possible to continue activities but has eliminated the boundary between professional and private life.
The crisis has demonstrated that we are interdependent, it has made visible all these networks that weave the threads of what makes up a society. The distance has not weakened our ties, social and family networks can be strengthened: the extension of systemic ideas will be measured in the months to come. However, for the elderly the network effect unfortunately could not come into play.
Patrick Bantman recalls that for the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, we are responsible for others, before being free.
Interview by Pascale Baratay-Lhorte
Keywords: Collective , The challenges of COVID