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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.
Much scholarship has centered on the very real decline of U.S. religious service attendance. Such a focus side-steps the ways in which religious organizations remain central to the fiber of U.S. social life, evidenced by the fact that more than 40 percent of U.S. adults attend religious services) at least once a month and many more belong to a religious organization (Maness 2020; Jones 2019). In a post COVID-19 world, sociologists of religion are needed partners in the scholarly quest to examine the collateral social and economic impact of the virus.