Category Index

Working – Work Disruption in a Context of Pandemics: Social Bonds and the ‘Crisis Society’ (RN17)

2020, issue 45, Claudia Marà and Valeria Pulignano: History is no stranger to global disease outbreaks, and each of them not only has taught us something about how to manage their spread medically, but also has told us something about important aspects of our sociality. For example, since the 1970s HIV/AIDS has had many lessons for humanity about the deadly danger of social stigma. Whether we are following those lessons today is a different story.

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Working – Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Pandemic, Equal Pay and the Sociologist as Expert

2020, issue 45, Hazel Conley: After weeks of being woken by apocalyptic morning radio news of pandemic and impending mass deaths, on the morning of 30th March 2020 came the news that the British Conservative Prime Minister, from his own sick bed, announced that ‘…there really is such thing as Society’. Since Margaret Thatcher’s pronouncement of the opposite position in 1987, and the ensuing marginalisation of sociology in politics and in academies, these words should be music to the ears of sociologists.

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Theorising – “It’s (Not) the End of the World as We Know It and I (Don’t) Feel Fine”: Through the Looking Glass Mirror of the Coronapocalypse

2020, issue 45, Victor Roudometof: ‘Coronapocalypse: make sure you cite me when you use that word’, wrote Jeffrey Hass (University of Richmond, VA) on his Facebook page. Duly noted. The visual images of empty squares and deserted streets from various capitals have already served as the subject of a photo essay in The New York Times. It feels somewhat anti-climactic. Thanks to an impressive array of post-apocalyptic images there is hardly an element of surprise. Life imitating art does not cause a stir.

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Theorising – If We Lose Our Humanity, We Lose Ourselves

2020, issue 45, Mirjana Ule: Spending my days isolated at home in Ljubljana, I am in a mood to reflect on the state of the world. In these times when anxiety and panic have increased as the result of the viral pandemic, I remember the American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein and his predictions of critical and chaotic social conditions in his 1998 essay on Utopistics. Or, Historical Choices Of The Twenty-First Century.

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Theorising – Crises? What Crises? Conceptualising Breakdowns in Practice Theory

2020, issue 45, Deborah Giustini: As I type this piece, Belgium is transitioning to its second week of lockdown to counteract the increasing Covid-19 infections. Leuven, a vibrant town usually buzzing with university classes, research events, and cultural highlights, has gone silent. One just has to venture outside, in the quarantined streets, to register how everyday activities grow quieter by the day.

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Theorising – The Social Definition of the Corona Pandemic

2020, issue 45, Sandra Maria Pfister: Despite social scientists increasingly achieving media presence when it comes to the secondary effects of the Corona crisis, both the crisis management and the public discourse on the Corona pandemic itself are still dominated by bio-medical perspectives.

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From “Face-to-Face” to “Face-to-Screen”: Virtual Classrooms as Synthetic Situations

2020, issue 45, Michael Knapp: Due to the Coronavirus epidemic, classroom teaching stopped more or less from one day to the next. Universities all over the world had to switch to some kind of digital learning arrangement, to avoid interrupting the on-going semester and to ensure the learning progress of the students. While some courses are currently handled in the form of work assignments via e-mail, there are probably a larger number of lectures and seminars that are now being held as webinars using programs such as Zoom, Skype or BigBlueButton.

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Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times? The Terrible Opportunity for Sociological Inquietude

2020, issue 45, Magda Nico: Ordinary lives, extraordinary times. Margaret Atwood explained in a TV interview the matrix in which she situates the stirring and thought-provoking dystopias she has shared with us. There are ordinary and extraordinary people, and there are ordinary and extraordinary times, she says. She writes about ordinary people in extraordinary times. The resemblance of this match between ordinary people (biographies) and extraordinary times (societies) with the current pandemic is overpowering.

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Producing Knowledge in a Pandemic Crisis – The Relevance of Researchers’ Work and Working Conditions

2020, issue 45, Teresa Carvalho: Since the institutionalisation of the modern university, Higher Education institutions have become one of the main pillars of modern societies, constituting themselves as the main ideological supports of the nation-state, and being the guarantors of democratic and egalitarian societies. In this context, the defence of academic freedom, through the support of the nation-state, was seen as a fundamental pillar for the disinterested advance of knowledge.

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NA Reports – The Difficult Question: Will We Remain Socially Alive? - Concerns from Portugal

2020, issue 45, João Teixeira Lopes: As a sociologist, I feel compelled to share some of my concerns with you. The first has to do with the risks of a prolonged period of seclusion, due to exceptional measures enacted by the State. In these circumstances, the exaltation of urgency monopolises attention, and large swathes of our society slide even more abruptly into areas of shadow and invisibility.

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NA Reports – Bergamo, March 2020: The Heart of the Italian Outbreak

2020, issue 45, Roberto Lusardi and Stefano Tomelleri: We are living in very unexpected and frightening times. Our generation, born in the 1970s, did not go to war and did not experience famine. Fortunately. Of course, we had some anguished moments: 11 September 2001, the 2008 economic crisis, terrorism and ISIS, the earthquakes in Central Italy in 2016 and 2017, to name a few. But the current situation is peculiar, in terms of the entity (planetary), the modality (social isolation), and the duration (still indefinite) of the crisis.

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NA Reports – Coronavirus as an X-Ray of Politics - The Case of Israel

2020, issue 45, Lev Grinberg: The pandemic spread of Covid-19 is part of globalisation, and similar to globalisation it penetrates every country, but in very different ways. The differences are related to local features. Coronavirus became a tester to diagnose social diseases, and from a political point of view the Coronavirus functions as an X-Ray.

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Thesis Spotlights – Symbolic Consumption of Print Media: How Physical Newspapers Allow Romanian Readers to Do Identity Work

2020, issue 45, Laura Toma: Various studies have explored the influence of both technology and social and cultural changes on traditional newspapers, to assess the present status of print and to offer a perspective for its future. But there has been little interest in exploring the symbolic dimension of print media consumption, which refers to the relationship between self-identity and a consumer’s attraction to, and preferences for, specific media objects.

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Thesis Spotlights – How Is the University Influenced by Neoliberalism? The Composition and Practice of Accountability in Taiwanese Higher Education

2020, issue 45, Ming-Te Peng: Models of university management around the world have been substantially influenced by neoliberalism and entrepreneurial culture in recent decades. Under this tendency, performance evaluations, bibliometric indicators and career precarity have become part of academic everyday life. This project aims to illustrate procedures by which academic reality has been established in the neoliberal era, rather than treating the neoliberal movement as a black box.

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