“A Spectrum of (Dis)Belief: Coronavirus Frames in a Rural Midwestern Town in the United States”
In this publication, the team of researchers that includes Emily Mendenhall investigate how society in rural America reacted to the coronavirus outbreaks of 2020. Without government COVID-19 mandates, conflicting moral beliefs divided American communities. Taking into account that such controversies represent fundamental frame conflicts, they focus on frames people constructed to make sense of coronavirus and how this affected social behavior in 2020. Their research shows that four frames emerged in the American Midwest: Concern, Crisis, Constraint, and Conspiracy. These four conflicting frames demonstrate how social fragmentation, based on conflicting values, led to an incomplete pandemic response in the absence of government mandates, opening the floodgates to coronavirus.