The fight to remain compliant
Public sentiment, pandemic and policing the second 2020 Victorian lockdown
Before 2020, the idea that an entire country would grind to a halt with businesses closed and freedom of movement curtailed at a moment’s notice would have seemed a fantasy, but the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered the way the public experiences control in a lockdown setting. While lockdowns have occurred around the world, one of the more strict example of this policy occurred in Melbourne, Australia, where a 112-day shutdown lasted from July to October 2020. Such an extensive lockdown begs the question of how compliance with such restrictions over a lengthy period of time is maintained. This article offers a sentiment analysis of online discourse on the Facebook pages of four Melbourne news sources (The Age, 7 News Melbourne, 9 News Melbourne and NewsTalk 3AW) at key points during the second lockdown, to assess attitudes toward compliance (or, importantly, non-compliant behaviours). It shows that, despite media coverage suggestion resistance, the general public largely remained supportive of restrictive lockdown measures throughout the crisis, indicating that it is possible to achieve compliance from the majority of the public in strictly enforced lockdowns, despite the intervention of small-but-enthusiastic sets of anti-lockdown activists.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Paul Bleakley
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