A Cross-Cultural Analysis of COVID-19 Mask Mandates and Social Distancing Measures

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Henley, Zoe
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
Since its discovery at the end of 2019, COVID-19 has heavily affected the world in a myriad of ways. This recent viral outbreak has spurred a shift in societal behaviors globally, from a growing popularity of mask usage, to a normalization of social distancing procedures, along with highlighting cultural idiosyncrasies in regards to disease, illness, health and wellness. Based on the research gathered and presented in this thesis, I develop a cross-cultural inspection of the various components of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it has affected the countries Spain, Japan, and the United States. Along with analyzing perceived risks, adaptations, and stigmas present in the advent of the novel pandemic, I also incorporate a holistic, anthropological approach in order to better elucidate deeper cultural components at play, such as how American ideals of freedom and personal responsibility and Japanese views of group adherence and public spiritedness influence how the virus and subsequently how social distancing procedures are perceived and followed.