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Vol. 14 No. 2 (2023)

The COVID-19 Crisis: Using the Cracks in Neoliberalism for Social Transformation Towards a More Just Society

July 12, 2023


Within the current COVID-19 pandemic, cracks observed in neoliberal dominant global economic paradigms reveal how austerity policies have crippled crucial social safety nets, such as health care, with capitalism continuing to adversely impact our climate with ad infinitum extraction of resources for overconsumption. In examining these associations, this collaborative paper critically applies social theories to explore ideas and approaches to creating transformative social change, in an effort to move towards a more just and sustainable society in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and other ongoing systemic crises. The paper presents the pandemic as a social crisis and explores theories of social justice and how they might be applied within the context of neoliberal capitalism, also known as neoliberalism. The authors of this paper argue that to move towards a just society, social transformation is needed, informed by the theories of decoloniality and intersectionality. A conceptual model is presented that demonstrates how these theories can be woven together to inform community psychology action and research, addressing COVID-19 specifically. Possibilities for transformation in the areas of mental health and climate justice are also presented. Finally, recommendations for community psychology researchers seeking social transformation, while navigating this challenging and complex new reality, are shared.