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Face-to-face (F2F) embodied interaction is the initial ingredient of interaction ritual (IR), the buildup of shared emotion, mutual focus of attention, and rhythmic entrainment that produces interpersonal solidarity. What happens when a natural experiment (the COVID-19 epidemic) prevents most F2F encounters or limits the modes of micro-interactional communication by masking? The paper examines evidence of the effects of masking and social distancing on public behavior, family life, remote schooling and remote work, prohibition of large audiences and assemblies, and attempts to substitute non-embodied electronic media. Most effects are consistent with IR theory predictions.
Collins, R. (2020). Social distancing as a critical test of the micro-sociology of solidarity. American Journal of Cultural Sociology, 8(3), 477–497. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41290-020-00120-z