Vandal Practices as a Psychological Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Vandalism can be seen as a form of individual self-realization and expression of the individual and collective responses to change. In this paper, we intend to look at the meaning and motivations behind acts of vandalism. We also aim to classify cases of vandalism that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, we analyzed 80 cases of vandalism related to the COVID-19. The information was obtained from open online sources: publications in online communities and media found through the use of hashtags #COVID-19 and #vandalism. As a result, five categories of vandalism were identified: (a) vandalism as a mechanism of adaptation to change; (b) vandalism as a coping strategy; (c) vandalism as an unconscious defensive reaction to a threatening situation; (d) vandalism as resistance to change; and (e) vandalism as a reflection of the sense of social injustice. We found that vandalism during the pandemic was used mostly as a way of adaptation to change and as a coping strategy. Moreover, our findings have also demonstrated that social instability and transitivity in the crisis period stimulate people to rethink the current social order and search for new social forms, structures, and principles.