In an earlier lecture this semester, when I spoke about the intellectual competences and skills to be acquired and worked on in order to develop sociological thinking, I said that there are situations that allow us to learn new ways of looking at familiar patterns of social life. These situations include times of massive social change or social crisis, which have the effect of throwing us off balance, challenging the things we take for granted, and thus stimulating our sociological imagination. There is nothing like a great crisis to challenge our social assumptions.
The global health crisis we currently face is no exception.
For the past 8 months, the state of public health emergency and the strategies deployed to counter the COVID-19 pandemic have so far resulted in containment measures, quarantine, restrictions on freedom of movement and assembly, hygiene, voluntary isolation and physical/social distancing, increased airport controls, border closures, school and business closures, reductions in international flights, use of teleworking, etc… In return, these strategies to counter the pandemic are currently disrupting all spheres of our society and facets of our social life: employment, work, the economy, consumption, tourism, our travels, our social interactions, etiquette and good manners, our daily habits, our certainties (including entertaining conspiracy theories)…
These health strategies do not reach and affect all social categories in the same way. For example, two groups seem to have more difficulty conforming to social distancing, the young and the elderly. And while parents who telework from home experience burnout and struggle to separate work and family, millions of newly unemployed people have so far filed employment insurance claims since the beginning of the pandemic…
What could these new rules and ways of living together be? Neo-liberal globalization could catch its cold, as the current crisis reminds us of the importance of borders, nations, the role played by the state, local economic networks, solidarity and the public good (at the expense of individual rights and freedoms and private interests).
Then there are also apparent paradoxes (confinement and isolation go hand in hand with concern for our loved ones and others) and potentially perverse effects (the current culture of denunciation towards those who deviate from health instructions and the new hygiene label).
Answer one the following two questions:
Writing format requirements: Your answer should be approximately 4-6 pages long, double spaced, typed, with 1-inch margins and using 12 pt font. Note: the length requirement is only an estimate of how much writing is needed in order to provide a complete answer; this is not something you will be graded on. It could be longer (but not really shorter)
Guidelines: (Note: marks will be taken off if basic writing requirements are not met):
Use the introduction text, your lecture notes, slideshows, lecture recordings, and at least one outside source. An outside source can be a simple (relevant) newspaper or magazine article.
When citing the lectures, slideshows, and recordings, a simple lecture date is enough (example: September 21 Lecture).
State/reference your outside source(s) (use either footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citations within brackets).
When citing an outside source, provide the name of author, title, publisher, publication place and date, and page numbers, as applicable.
Define (all) your concepts and any technical term introduced and used.
No bibliography is needed (simply provide appropriate citations and consistent referencing).
I will not grade you on grammar, spelling and punctuation, but proofread your work.
Include a cover page stating your name and student number, the course title and number, the name of the professor, and the submission date.
In the event of a medical emergency or other serious problem, an extension to the assignment may be granted but only if I am contacted prior to the deadline.