Soc 320 Research Opportunity, Fall 2020, Spring 2021: The Impact of COVID-19 on Service and Arts Workers


Term: Fall 2020 (Soc 320, Section 081)
Status: Open
Contact: Taylor Laemmli laemmli@wisc.edu. This position is available for 1-3 credits.
Description: This project draws on semi-structured interviews with service industry and arts workers conducted during and in the aftermath of the arrival of the COVID-19 virus in the United States. I talked to workers about their lives, work, and feelings before and after the coronavirus hit, and about their fears, worries, and predictions for the future. In addition to documenting the devastating impact of COVID-19 on workers in precarious and risky occupations, the project demonstrates how a biological virus is a sociological phenomenon, as people from various social groups frame, construct, and respond to the selfsame virus in patterned ways. In doing so, I show how fear is not a generic input or outcome but is rather the product of history and social relations that shape it in different ways on the basis of race, class, gender, and power and control writ large.
Activites: The undergraduate research assistants will transcribe interviews conducted by Taylor. In addition, students will help maintain the interview database by adding and editing demographic information, relevant details about research participants, and any other information they deem important to the project. Depending on the speed of transcription, students may be invited to participate in coding interviews themselves.
Readings:
Orne, Jason and Michael M. Bell. 2015. Chapter 5 (“Listening: Interview Methods”) in An Invitation to Qualitative Fieldwork. New York: Routledge.
Contexts Blog Posts:
– Pangborn, Nicole A. and Christopher M. Rea. “Race, Gender, and New Essential Workers During COVID-19.”
– Shigihara, Amanda Michiko. “Impact of Coronavirus on the U.S. Restaurant Industry.”
– Wilson, Eli R. “The Employment Armageddon Facing the U.S. Restaurant Industry.”
Requirements:
– No prerequisites. Students should have a good command of spoken and written English.
– Applicants should submit a short paragraph indicating why they are interested in participating.
– I will interview students before deciding who to select.