Repository logo

Social movement organizing and the politics of emotion from HIV to Covid-19.

Published version



Change log



The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the rapid growth of collective organizing on the part of patient groups to address scientific and health inequities. This paper considers the emergence of Covid-19 activism as an embodied health movement that draws on and contributes to broader movements for racial, economic and gender justice. Recognizing the central role of emotion in social movements and in the bio-politics of Covid-19, I examine the key presence of the affective domain in social change through three Covid-19 social movement groups. These organizations draw upon anti-racist, feminist, and queer and HIV social movement organizing that position Covid movement building in intersectional histories and futures. I argue that Covid movement activists have built "archives of feeling"-or public cultures of trauma-of commemoration, Covid survivor narratives, and direct action that center affective feelings around grief, representation, and anger, respectively. I suggest that Covid-19 will become a key lens for articulating structural and social inequalities through which broader social movements will leverage their claims for justice-moving towards an integrated social movement. Social movement mobilizing will continue to play a critical role to ensure that the focus in the Covid-19 pandemic shifts from pathogen to society.



Covid‐19, HIV/AIDS, activism, embodied social movement, emotion, social movements

Journal Title

Sociol Compass

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title