Unravelling discourses on COVID-19, South Asians and Punjabi Canadians

Gupta, Tania Das and Nagpal, Sugandha (2022) Unravelling discourses on COVID-19, South Asians and Punjabi Canadians. Studies in Social Justice, 16 (1). pp. 103-122. ISSN 19114788

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This article uses critical discourse analysis to examine how the higher COVID-19 infection rates among South Asians in general, and Punjabis more specifically, have been represented by conservative politicians and their representatives as a consequence of cultural and religious practices. Two counter-narratives are discussed. The first substitutes the negative image of the Sikh Punjabi Canadian community with a celebratory and positive view of Sikh humanitarianism and community service. The second attributes the high numbers to class attributes such as precarious jobs, poverty-level wages, employment insecurity, lack of sick days, over-crowded housing, racism and lack of access to healthcare. We argue that the conservative explanation as well as the first counter-narrative reveal continuities in culturalist understandings of South Asian immigrants, albeit in slightly different ways. The second counter-narrative represents a discursive resistance by advancing a structural analysis of health and disease in immigrant communities.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Race | Media | COVID-19 | Canada | South Asian
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Health (Social sciences)
JGU School/Centre: Jindal School of International Affairs
Depositing User: Shilpi Rana
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2022 09:06
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2022 09:49
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.26522/ssj.v16i1.3471
Funders: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Partnership Engage Grant (PEG)
Additional Information: We are grateful for the suggestions made by three anonymous reviewers whose insights helped to strengthen the article. We would also like to thank Harkit Bhandal for her expert research assistance. Finally, we would like to acknowledge financial support by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Partnership Engage Grant (PEG), which made this research possible.
URI: https://pure.jgu.edu.in/id/eprint/946


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