Centering the Margins: The Precarity of Bangladeshi Low-Income Migrant Workers During the Time of COVID-19

Raihan Jamil, Uttaran Dutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has profoundly escalated social, political, economic, and cultural disparities, particularly among the marginalized migrants of the global South, who historically remained key sufferers from such disparities. Approximately 8 million, such workers from Bangladesh, migrated from their homelands to work in neighboring countries, specifically in Southeast Asia and in the Middle East, and also contribute significantly to their country’s economy. As many of the migrant workers work on temporary visas, scholars have expressed concerns about their physical and psychological health such as joblessness, mortality, abuses, daunting stress, and inhabitable living environment. Embracing the theoretical frameworks of critical–cultural communication, this article explores two research questions: (1) What are the emerging narratives of experiencing realities and disparities among the Bangladeshi migrants at the margins? (2) How the migrants negotiated and worked on overcoming the adversities? In doing so, we have closely examined 85 Facebook Pages (number of subscribers: 10,000-1 million), dedicated to issues of Bangladeshi migrant workers to qualitatively analyze emerging mediated discourses (textual, visual, and audiovisual). Our analysis reveals several aspects, including, (1) impact of job insecurities on migrants and their families, (2) living conditions of and abuses on migrants works, (3) negotiations of mental stress by the marginalized migrants, and (4) how community support helps the migrants to survive during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Asia
  • Bangladesh
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • health
  • migrant workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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