Prairie State College Sociological Effects of COVID 19 Essay Apply the sociological concepts of values, norms and symbols that you read about in Chapter 3

Prairie State College Sociological Effects of COVID 19 Essay Apply the sociological concepts of values, norms and symbols that you read about in Chapter 3 to the current “once in a lifetime experience” of navigating the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sociological Background:

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The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has become an incredibly powerful social force in our lives, with words and phrases like “social distancing,” “shelter in place,” “stay-at-home orders,” “flatten the curve,” “reopening the economy,” and “we are all in this together” spoken and heard on a daily basis. These words and phrases are cultural symbols of our new existence, at least for the next several months. And, at its basic core, the rationale for this major disruption of our lives and the rhythm of our day-to-day activities is the cultural value of human life … of limiting the number of deaths caused by the pandemic.

On a even more macro-level scale, the social forces of globalization have carried the virus from Wuhan, China, to South Korea and much of Asia, to Europe, especially Italy, and to the United States … first recognized in Seattle and then spreading throughout the country, with the New York City metro region hit the hardest and our very own Cook County, Illinois, continuing to witness first-hand the tragic effects of this pandemic. If we are effective in social distancing and we flatten the curve, we can significantly limit the number of deaths within Illinois, within the United States, and across the globe. If we are not effective, and allow our understandable desire to reopen the economy to move too quickly, without doing so in a safe manner, then we will look back on this moment with much regret. It is worth noting that we are all part of the largest national mobilization since World War II.

As you know from your reading, our behavior as human beings is shaped by the “rules” for behavior; these rules are the cultural norms that lend predictability and stability to a society’s way of life. It is not surprising to point out, therefore, that changing behavior by changing society’s “rules” (cultural norms) on what behavior is acceptable or unacceptable is very difficult. Yet, our current circumstances are demanding just that. I am optimistic and believe that our society is up to the challenge but the last few months and the next several months will be very, very strange indeed. This first Doing Sociology Assignment asks you to apply what you are learning in this sociology course to what we are experiencing as a society, at the local, national, and global levels.

For your paper, consider the following questions (and suggestions):

● What cultural norms and symbolic gestures have changed as a result of society’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? I encourage you to have discussions with family members and friends about this question. Also, if you are out in public (and wisely following the new rules), apply the sociological method of observation, which you learned about in Chapter 2, and take notes (at least mental notes) on the patterns of behavior that you observe. I see this part of the paper as your first body paragraph, with a focus on description of your observations.

● How have these changing cultural norms affected your daily life experiences? How have you been adjusting your behavior (whether by choice or by moral obligation)? For this part of the paper, I want you to reflect on how these changes have affected you; as you write on this, it is fine to use the first-person, “I,” in your discussion. I see this part of the paper as your second body paragraph, with a focus on personal reflection.

● Do you think this national mobilization, really global mobilization, to combat the pandemic will have a long-term impact on the way we live our lives, on the core values and norms that define culture in the United States? If so, how? If not, why not? This part of the paper asks you to reconnect with the broader sociological context for your observations and reflections. I see this part of your paper as either your third body paragraph or a concluding paragraph, with a focus on sociological analysis.

In addition to my suggestions above, please make sure to design an introductory paragraph that sets the stage for your discussion by establishing the sociological context of the assignment. Like the concluding paragraph, the intro should be sociological and analytical in tone. It is fine to borrow some of the broad ideas I lay out in the Sociological Background section of this assignment, but make sure to establish your own voice as you make concrete connections to the sociological perspective.

Should be 1000 – 1500 words


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