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A new Journal of Health and Social Behavior study shows that access to health insurance can help hold a community together socially, and lack of it can contribute to the fraying of neighborhood cohesion.
The study, Beyond Health Effects? Examining the Social Consequences of Community Levels of Uninsurance Pre-ACA, published by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, is an effort by researchers Tara McKay and Stefan Timmermans to “broaden the conversation” about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The unequal impacts of COVID-19 demonstrate an urgent need for sociological interrogations of disability as a social category and axis of inequality commensurate with race, class, and gender and intersecting with them. While disability can be a marker of health status, it is also a unique social category with particular politics structuring disabled people’s lives and reflecting interlocking systems of oppression. We provide examples of how the pandemic reveals disability is a societally mediated category of existence that is (de)valued in particular ways.
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.