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COVID 19 related hostility

This project seeks to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the fault lines of society, on the boundaries and distance between the dominant and the historically oppressed. Far from being ‘the great leveller’, the pandemic has intensified inequalities between privileged and marginalised groups. Inequalities on the basis of class, race, gender, sexuality and disability are reflected in the distribution and depth of negative outcomes ranging from rates of morbidity and mortality, to rates of unemployment, exposure to domestic violence and mental health impacts.

This work specifically seeks to understand how the context of the pandemic has impacted upon expressions and experiences of hostility towards historically marginalised groups. In particular, it seeks to use the pandemic as a lens through which to explore how certain groups are constructed as inherently ‘risky’; the interoperability of risk, fear and manifest hostility; and, significantly, the leveraging of these relationships by anti-pluralist groups and movements.

Eschewing an ahistorical approach, the project explores the articulation of structural forms of oppression, including historical racisms and homophobia, with individual and interpersonal hostility in the context of C-19. Specifically, we explore the manner in which long-standing stereotypes of Traveller (Mincéir) and Roma, Asian, and LGBT groups interact with, and are activated by, behaviours which have been newly constructed as risky, irresponsible and anti-social in the context of the pandemic. Further, we examine the manner in which social prejudice transforms the stigmatisation of behaviours into the stigmatisation of groups, and legitimates the regulation, banishment, and exclusion of difference.

This project is part of the ECSH European Understandings of Hate theme and is currently seeking funding. It is led by Dr Amanda Haynes who can be contacted at Amanda.Haynes@ul.ie