Professional Civility, Social Distancing, COVID-19, Flattening the Curve, Naturalism, Communicative Action, Dialectic, Pandemic, Communications, Communication Theory, Communication Studies, Workplace Ethics, Workplace Relations


Communication | Health Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication


Melba Vélez Ortiz


As a naturalistic paradigm dictated by dialectal practices, culture must be understood in relation to a time and place in order to make ethical sense of society. Similarly, culture cannot be appropriately measured and studied without a reference to prior historical and geographical contexts. Naturalism is a dialectic that manifests as a type of evolution within our society. This cultural phenomenon allows human beings to reflect on those constructs through empirical means in order to understand the world, and to best prepare a society for how to move forward. The actions of the United States Government in regard to social distancing reflect a dialectical process that can be studied empirically, specifically on whether they either embody or hinder professional civility. As a cultural phenomenon, social distancing has potentially created a ripple effect of new procedures and ethics that could replace the current social norms in the workplace and elsewhere. This chain of events may have also introduced a change of perception regarding professional civility in workplaces across the U.S. This paper examines the practice of social distancing instituted by the U.S Government in 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this practice impacts professional civility as a communicative virtue.