Session: WITHDRAWN Discourses of Ageism, Racism, and Gender during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Critical Discourse Analysis Roundtable (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

206 WITHDRAWN Discourses of Ageism, Racism, and Gender during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Critical Discourse Analysis Roundtable

Saturday, January 15, 2022: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Independence BR H, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Christine Barber, MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago, Sarah Jen, PhD, University of Kansas, Brandon Mitchell, MSW, University of Louisville and Claire Willey-Sthapit, MSSW, University of Washington
Introduction. Over the past year, as a global pandemic raged, social justice issues were amplified, often reinforcing pre-existing stereotypes and disparate outcomes widened across age, race, and gender. Older adults and people living with disabilities were portrayed as expendable. Asian Americans faced increasing racial prejudice fueled by anti-Asian sentiment related to the spread of COVID-19. Black and communities of color continued to face state violence at the hands of police and were met with further violence and vitriol as they and their allies gathered to protest across the country. Women faced increased burdens and rising dangers at home associated with the stay-at-home orders and increasing intimate partner violence. Collectively, pandemic discourses have illuminated enduring biases against historically stigmatized and disenfranchised populations. While we anticipate new horizons in this ongoing pandemic in the coming year, the impacts of COVID-19 will be evident for years to come.

Utility. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) examines language as a social tool and explores the relationship between language use, social practices, and dynamics of power and politics in society. CDA helps us understand the ways in which discourse is often embedded alongside systems of power, driving and reinforcing stereotypes, upholding the status quo, and perpetuating white supremacist, patriarchal, and ageist beliefs, norms, and social structures. As a method, CDA allows us to analyze evolving social justice issues and constructions of marginalized populations to lay bare oppressive and taken-for-granted dynamics within society and imagine anti-oppressive forms of knowledge creation.

Purpose. We discuss the utility of CDA in critiquing existing discourses and offer methodological techniques across three content areas: age, race, and gender, to provide examples of how public and scholarly discourses have emerged and been reinforced during the pandemic.

Content Areas. Collectively, we will discuss pandemic-related discourses and developing social justice issues across the content areas of age, race, and gender. Each content area will conclude with a discussion of how the findings can be leveraged to promote social justice.

(1) Age- we will discuss representations of ageism, intergenerational conflict, and intersections with ableist discourses.

(2) Race- we will discuss racism during the pandemic and the relationship to enduring educational inequities, alongside the deficit-based portrayals regarding a year of "learning loss" for students.

(3) Gender- we will discuss the recent framings of caregivers, emotional labor, and intimate partner violence.

Opportunities for Learning. After this brief presentation, we will facilitate a discussion exploring additional topic areas of potential CDA within the interest areas of the attendees. We will encourage discussion of the utility of CDA to interrogate and promote social justice within and beyond the field of social work.

Implications. Social work scholars and practitioners are poised to advocate for social justice. An important part of this work is to develop awareness of--and skills to address--discursive frames that contribute to further marginalization of disadvantaged groups. This roundtable highlights the hegemonic power structures that fuel discourse which may present barriers to our pursuits of social justice. In constructing a better tomorrow, the discourses we use make all the difference.

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