Ever adaptable, socializing takes new forms

Fears about being deprived of social ties or the disintegration of society first appeared during the French Revolution with the growing importance given to the individual. These fears are now making a comeback with the advent of physical distancing. But rather than disintegrating, ways of socializing are adapting, sociologists say.

Sociologists offer reassurance: social bonds are resilient and have the ability to take on new forms. In addition to standard frames of reference, such as the family, the workplace, and school, each of us knows how to create different affinity groups and move between them. The lockdown, although it undermined our social bonds, showed that, by and large, we succeeded in leaving an opposition between solitude and the excessive demands of digital platforms behind:

· Some people have managed to convert enforced solitude into an opportunity to step back and appreciate the need for social ties once more. These individuals have rediscovered the taste for interactions even though social networks had weakened and trivialized them.

· Social networks have seen their use jump both in terms of quantity and quality. Visitors to dating sites, for example, have turned to video calls in vast numbers, spending more time on them and calling each other more often.

And how about you? Were you able to find the right balance between being alone and interacting with other people?

To go further:Le vide et l’excès: quel lien social pour le XXIième siècle” (ADN, June 2020)