Congratulations to Laura Mauldin, winner of an SSRC Rapid-Response to Covid19 and the Social Sciences Grant! From a pool of over 1300 applicants, 62 projects were selected that address the social, economic, cultural, psychological, and political impact of Covid-19 in the United States and globally, as well as responses to the pandemic’s wide-ranging effects.
Individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities, as well as those over the age of 65, occupy the highest risk categories for contracting and dying from Covid-19. This project focuses on these invisible frontlines of care: the millions of chronically ill and/or elderly Americans who are not institutionalized and instead receiving care at home from family members, specifically their spouses. How is Covid-19 shaping the hidden, intimate worlds of spousal care at home? What are the immediate and potential long-term consequences for these families? How are they coping and what supports do they need? This project uses qualitative research methods to gather meaningful data to constructively inform responses from communities, public actors, and other institutions. Spousal caregivers will be recruited through caregiver support organizations in the US. Through virtual interviews, I expect to find (1) what caregiving looked like pre- and post-Covid-19, (2) their access to and utilization levels of home care supports (like home health aides) and how access to such supports has been affected, and (3) what strategies they are using to adjust to the pandemic, including practices with regard to social isolation and managing fear of infection. Once data are analyzed, the themes I find can pinpoint where policy efforts should be targeted.
Read Manuel Ramirez (UConn) and Fae Chubin's (Bradley University) article in Sociological Inquiry, "Securing Racial Borders: A Comparative Study of Settler‐Racial Ideology and State Border Violence."
The Palestinian “Great March of Return” in 2018, marked by the Israeli government’s brutal attacks on Palestinians who were demonstrating at the Gaza border, nearly coincided with the Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy in which the unauthorized border crossing of Latinx immigrants came under an ever severe attack. This article offers a comparative content analysis of the “border security” discourses of the two settler‐colonial states of the United States and Israel by examining American and Israeli government officials’ public comments on state violence at borders. We place our study within a settler‐colonial framework to provide a historically grounded analysis of the U.S. and Israel’s racial ideologies and the colorblind rhetoric of “border security.” Through a content analysis of the speeches, interviews, social media posts, and press releases of American and Israeli government officials, we identified a settler‐racial ideology shared by the two states comprised of three distinct and overlapping frames: (1) obscuring settler colonialism, (2) vilification of those constructed as non‐native, and (3) glorification of the state. By bridging theories of settler colonialism and structural racism, we demonstrate that a settler‐racial ideology is central to maintaining the ongoing systems of border violence within settler‐colonial states.
Read Noel Cazenave's interview in The New Yorker, A Community Organizer Takes on White Vigilantism by Eliza Griswold.
Noel Cazenave, a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut and the author of “Killing African Americans: Police and Vigilante Violence as a Racial Control Mechanism,” sees such resistance as part of a long history of white vigilantism. “Racial oppression has always been maintained through violence,” he told me. In the nineteen-fifties and sixties, white Americans posted signs in so-called sundown towns telling Black people that they would be met with violence if they were found outdoors after dark. Cazenave believes that today’s white mobs see Black Lives Matter activists as mounting a challenge to white dominance similar to the one mounted during the civil-rights era. “They’ve been told by Donald Trump that these are the people who are coming to take away their basic value,” he said. “This is a literal invasion.” Although the white groups are extrajudicial, many have sought to align themselves with police. Cazenave finds this unsurprising. “Police and vigilante violence not only have common origins and functions, and not only do they often complement one another, but they are often comprised of the same people,” he said. “Racist neighborhood culture and racist police culture fuel one another in an intense cycle of hatred directed toward those deemed to be racial outsiders.”
Soma Chaudhuri (Sociology, Michigan State University, PI), Elizabeth Chacko (Geography, George Washington University, Co-PI), Bandana Purkayastha (Sociology & AASI, Co-PI) along with S. Anandhi (History, Madras Institute of Development Studies, India), Anand Venkatesh (Economics, Institute for Rural Management, India), Paromita Sanyal. (Sociology, Florida State University), and Jaita Talukdar (Sociology, Loyola University, New Orleans) have been awarded an SSRC grant to study pandemics and migrant precarity in India and the US. The project will bring together seven multidisciplinary international scholars from the fields of history, economics, geography and sociology to develop an interdisciplinary methodological toolkit to study migrant precarity in the international context. The toolkit will draw from several interdisciplinary methods, including the life history calendar (LHC), in-depth interviews, focus group discussion (FGD), the Zaltman metaphor of elicitation technique (ZMET) and content analysis of print media to answer the following question: How has the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing precariousness and created new disruptions in the lives of migrants?
Dashefsky notes that the long-standing ideological metaphor of the United States as a melting pot of immigrants is not accurate looking through the lens of social science.
“It created a false idea that there was democratization of the country,” he says. “The way I explain it to my students is more to describe it as Anglo conformity. We’re speaking English, and our jurisprudence system is based on the English law with certain modifications that we added. We all read Shakespeare in high school although he’s not an American author, so part of our literature is derived from that. The point is, yes, there is a diversity, but not all of our culture has learned to deal with this diversity; otherwise we wouldn’t have all the social conflicts we have today.”