Intersectional Perspectives on the Corona Crisis
1Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Deutschland; 2Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland
How to survive in a pandemic? How to live, work and be safe in a pandemic? How to grow up and how to die in a pandemic? How to migrate and travel in a pandemic? How to care, relate and have sex in a pandemic? How to protest and politically organize in a pandemic? The corona crisis concerns everyone but does not affect everyone in the same way. In fact, it has revealed once more that life chances, health, safety and work are unequally distributed in global capitalism. Who lives and who dies; who thrives, who recovers and who loses everything; who proves worthy of protection and who bears the economic and social costs of the crisis is deeply shaped by hierarchical relations of gender, race, and class, of able-bodiedness and citizenship. The presentation highlights intersectional dimensions of the corona crisis and contours research questions and perspectives for social sciences and gender studies that adress this multi-dimensionality.
Covid19: From Colonial Pasts to Multicultural Futures
University of Sussex, Vereinigtes Königreich
Since at least a decade ago, when prominent political leaders across Europe declared the ‘death of multiculturalism’, there has been a growing mobilization of authoritarian and far-right political activity and scholarship across Europe. Much of this has pivoted around concerns of ‘white replacement’ and who is legitimately entitled to be present in the continent and have access to its resources and benefits. Covid19 may have prompted a pause, however temporary, in such rhetoric and it would be useful to take the opportunity provided to reflect on who we are, how we came to be, and what we owe to others. The inequalities that both configure the globe and national societies within Europe emerge from the longer colonial histories of Europe. These histories need to be taken seriously in terms of addressing the current situation we confront given that the virus cannot be defeated nationally without also being defeated globally. In the process, let us reclaim the multicultural grounds for a future that works for us all.
The covid-19 pandemic and racial capitalism
Universität Bern, Deutschland
With a focus on Switzerland, the presentation delineates, firstly, that - in the context of the pandemic - the manifold activities sustaining everyday life were rendered visible as gendered, classed and racialized. Secondly, I will exemplify how intersectionally structured inequalities intensified under the conditions of the lockdown, especially regarding labour related exposure and the different vulnerabilities to the virus. Thirdly, I will argue that an intersectional understanding of racial capitalism – broadly understood as the way “capitalist exploitation and racist othering reinforce and sometimes amplify each other” (Battacharyya 2018) - is central to the comprehension of the unfolding of the crisis.
Border Control Measures in Times of COVID-19: An Intersectional Analysis of Travel Restrictions from the Lens of Citizenship and Sexuality
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
The constraint of movement is one of the main ways that states exercise spatial control over populations and define who is allowed to achieve physical (and symbolic) existence in a national space. Constraints of movement became a global response to combat the spread of COVID-19 with the aim of blocking the circulation of infected individuals and reducing the spreading of the virus. These constraints appeared in forms of border control measures through global biosafety regulations, which included social isolation protocols, quarantine regulations, and travel restrictions. On March 17, the German Government implemented a series of border control measures, including travel restrictions, to limit and regulate entries to Germany. In this presentation, I will focus on how these border control measures affected the lives of non-citizens and sexual minorities from an intersectional perspective.
Transnational Migrant Live-in Care in times of Covid 19.
Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Deutschland
This contribution is about the phenomenon of 24-hour care in German private households. Arranged by transnational agencies or via private networks, an estimated 500,000 migrant women from Eastern Europe look after elderly people in need of care around the clock. The majority of them work in a form of circular migration where they commute between their home countries and their workplace. Since the introduction of the health sector’s deregulation in EU-law, a wide-ranging economic process under the heading of so called 'New Public Management' supported the privatization of welfare state services and ultimately led to a new market entering the welfare state under the umbrella of cost containment. In Germany, the working conditions and of these live-in care workers are seldom scandalized; instead, the neoliberal narrative of an alleged win-win situation legitimizes this arrangement for everyone involved. The lockdown of national borders has uncovered the fragility of a health care system driven by economizing nursing, taking advantage of transnational economic disparities to reduce the cost of elderly care and using the neoliberal narrative of an alleged win-win situation in order to legitimize this arrangement for the buyers. In my contribution, I will analyze this situation as a phenomenon where gender-, migration- and care regimes intersect with specific forms of exploitation and racism.
Gender-Arrangements and Social Classes in Pandemic Times
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland
It is well known that social crises like the COVID-19 pandemic reinforce already existing inequalities. Measures and regulations are restructuring the quotidian life of everyone, but in unequal ways. How does this manifest itself in concrete terms: Which supposedly outdated gender roles are experiencing a comeback? To what extent does the crisis also offer opportunities for new arrangements regarding the distribution of domestic and care work? How do class relations, migration policies, and unequal health conditions affect this?
My presentation will consider these questions based on the preliminary results of the empirical study "Everyday Life in the Corona Crisis – A Study on the 'Reorganisation' of the Private Sphere". Due to the early survey (March and April 2020), the data offers a unique insight into the first phase of the lockdown in Germany. The presentation will focus in particular on gender and class relations.
Age, Gender and Care in Times of a Pandemic – The ‘Double Jeopardy’ of Being a Care-Giver and a Risk-Group
Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the respective policies and regulations targeting the spread of the virus have affected people in different ways based on their social position and situation. In particular, they have hit those who provide care, as schools and kindergartens have been closed, nursing homes have been isolated and eldercare has become more challenging with travel restrictions for care-givers, who often commute between countries. Women and non-binary persons of the ‘sandwich generation’, who are now in their fifties and sixties, are more likely to provide care than any other group: They care for both their parents and grandchildren, support their children financially, and volunteer in support of other disadvantaged groups. At the same time, the pandemic has evoked an outbreak of ageism, with the portrayal of older adults as a homogeneous group of the helpless, frail, and care-dependent. With this rise of ageism and the decline of public care provisioning, this generation has come to face a ‘double jeopardy’ of being a care-giver and being labelled as ‘risk group’ due to their age.
The paper discusses recent findings from the project “Provisioning and Support during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic” (VERSUS-Corona). Data was collected between March and July 2020 based on a mixed-methods design that combines qualitative exploratory interviews (n=10), a quantitative online survey (n=1.000) and a diary study (n=20).
Based on a praxeological perspective of ‘un/doing differences’ (West & Fenstermaker, 1995; Hirschauer, 2017) and the framework of ‘(re-)configurations of provisioning’ (Streinzer, 2019) this paper explores the role of intersectionalities between age, gender, class, and ethnicity in times of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. It follows the practices of eldercare through three empirical cases: a professional nurse working in home care who commutes between Germany and Poland; a couple who moved in with their parents (in-law) to care for them during the pandemic; and a retired woman who provides care for her grandchildren. Findings highlight the ambivalences and paradoxes of (re-)configuring care in an ageing society in the face of a pandemic.