American Sociological Association

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  1. LL3 Task Force Is Making Progress

    The ASA Task Force on Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major, Third Edition (LL3) has been working steadily on the charge put to it by ASA Council at their August 2014 meeting: to revise the ASA document Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major Updated: Meeting the Challenges of Teaching Sociology in the 21st Century (McKinney et al. 2004). Perhaps the most important as well as the most cited sociology curricular document in the United States, this revision comes at a critical time when several changes are occurring in higher education.

  2. The COVID-19 Pandemic: Normal Accidents and Cascading System Failures (Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility)

    Charles Perrow described the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear reactor meltdown as a Normal Accident. Normal accidents are a class of events produced when subsystems in risky, complex and tightly coupled systems fail. Tight linkages between subsystems propagate failure, and local breakdowns cascade into systemic collapse. Diane Vaughn applied the normal accident metaphor to the 1986 Challenger Disaster.

  3. Sociology as a Lens on the Pandemic and Responses to It (Medical Sociology)

    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.