Health sociology review : the journal of the Health Section of the Australian Sociological Association;
In this brief paper, I argue that the coronavirus pandemic is functioning like an ethnomethodological 'breaching experiment'. In short, it is putting a gigantic spanner in the works of neoliberal governance, in the process exposing the widening cracks and fissures of what I have called the 'fractured society'. I begin by recalling Garfinkel's notion of the breaching experiment and by listing the principal attributes of the fractured society. I then explore the response to the coronavirus in the UK, from the government's initial commitment to 'herd immunity' to its present policy of 'muddling through'. The bulk of the remainder of this contribution addresses precisely how this global health crisis shines a harsh and unforgiving searchlight on the strategies and policies pursued by governments in the UK since 2010, and most especially after the passing of the Health and Social Care Act of 2012. In the closing paragraphs, I examine possible scenarios for a post-fractured society, making particular use of Fraser's concepts on 'reactionary' versus 'progressive populism', and conclude with a comment on sociology and engagement.