Practicing Social Distance

In light of the circumstances surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, and the necessity for practicing social distancing, I recognize that some students do not have an easy way to conduct a breaching experiment – whether due to limited contact with others or cramped conditions at home (nothing like violating norms around your loved ones while trapped together). 

In light of this, I am offering an alternative assignment which addresses the concepts explored in Garfinkel’s Studies in Ethnomethodology.  If you have cannot complete “Assignment 3: Into the Breach”, you are welcome to either complete this instead. 

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At this time in our lives, we are experiencing a mild form of anomie, or the breakdown of social norms – or the disruption/violation of the expected habituated social flow of interactions (as in Garfinkel and TSCOR).

In other words, our experiences could be understood as a societal-level/macro-level breach in social norms. So in lieu of conducting a breaching experiment, you are invited to write a sufficiently detailed – yet sociologically considerate –  reflection about your experiences during the ongoing pandemic. This could be in the form of:

A retrospective re-examination of a norm-violating event you’ve experienced
An internal reflection on the experience of violating standard greeting/social distance norms (perhaps for the first time in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak)
A reflection on social norms violated “during stay-at-home” orders in relation to the whole household being present

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The general idea, though, is to consider the framework of social order as proposed by Garfinkel and Berger & Luckmann, and the violations of this framework that occur in your everyday life as related to the COVID-19 outbreak. In this sense, you are a socio-clinician examining the standard social model of social order in relation to the experience of it under voluntary/involuntary lockdowns. And remember, as a sociologist, you are both a social individual and an observer.

Your response should be in the form of an essay:

1-2 pages
12-pt Times New Roman Font
1 inch page margins. For more information on Practicing Social Distance check out :

Attachment : Assignment 3 details The Social Construction of Reality excerpt Studies in Ethnomethodology (Excerpt)

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