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The theory of cultural trauma focuses on the relationship between shared suffering and collective identity: Events become traumatic when they threaten a group’s foundational self-understanding. As it stands, the theory has illuminated profound parallels in societal suffering across space and time. Yet focusing on identity alone cannot explain the considerable differences that scholars document in the outcomes of the trauma process.
Recent research has called on scholars to develop pedagogical interventions to address issues of media literacy. This teaching note answers that call by describing a media literacy project designed for use in social problems classes. The project acquaints students to the constructionist approach to social problems and the method of content analysis. Guided by the principles of scaffolding, the note discusses how students are guided through a series of readings, assignments, and activities that enables them to analyze how social problems are portrayed in news media.
Every day we face new challenges related to COVID-19. ASA wants to help sociologists navigate those challenges. We are offering several resources to help sociologists in their work during this period.