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The COVID-19 crisis highlights the importance of what we do as sociologists, throwing into sharp relief the dangers of adhering to individualism and disregarding the social mechanisms of cooperation and scientific/occupational expertise that organize the myriad situations of everyday life. As the pandemic reveals the inequalities and contradictions in our society, sociologists engaged in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis (EM/CA) are uniquely placed to examine what happens when taken-for-granted assumptions and interactional practices change rapidly.
Compared to natural disasters—hurricanes, tornadoes, floods—pandemics are comparatively rare. British sociologist Phil Strong (1990) was one of the few to study pandemics. He developed a framework based on accounts of pandemics back to the Black Death in 14th century Europe. Pandemics represented moments of transparency in the social order. All sorts of institutions, relationships, and interactions suddenly became problematic. The taken-for-granted assumptions of everyday life were exposed and became uncertain and questionable.
Winter 2015 Vol. 14 No. 1
New editors Syed Ali and Philip Cohen start their tenure with a bang, including articles on carrying (and concealing) weapons, on the lessons of Ferguson, and what uprisings in France can teach us about protests in the U.S. Also: lesbian geographies, Piketty in perspective, recollections of genocide, and “velvet rope racism” at urban nightclubs.
If you are a student at a public college or university in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, or Wisconsin, the person sitting next to you in class may legally have a handgun under that collegiate sweatshirt he or she is wearing. In these 10 states, legislation allows students and faculty members who have concealed weapon licenses to bring their weapons, such as handguns, to campus. In 2014, bills proposing similar legislation were introduced in 14 states.