Call for Book Chapter Proposals: Culture and COVID-19. Editor: Nadezhda Sotirova. Deadline for abstracts: 20 August 2022.
What is the role of culture in navigating the pandemic? Despite the seemingly dissipating pandemic, and just as it might seem “things are going back to normal,” new strains and vaccine boosters continue to compete for our attention and countries around the world are once again struggling to answer COVID-19 questions. Are we going back to “normal”? How do we re-think vaccination and boosters?
The ongoing uncertainty continues to produce opposition and questioning. Some locations, individuals, and communities have had more trouble implementing and sustaining COVID-19 rules than others and a discussion as to the reason behind these occurrences soon followed. While some communities seemed to have an easier time following and dealing with the rules, others continued to struggle and rebel against both mandates and the virus itself (denial, refusals of vaccines, or even tracking local numbers, etc.).
Throughout the pandemic, the role of culture as focal in such vastly different responses has been brought up in public discussions, editorials, opinion pieces, conference presentations, and panel discussions. Even the CDC site linked to a study highlighting the part culture plays in unpacking health messages while UNESCO urged for more projects exploring the role and impact of culture on recovery.
Frequently, such discussions have focused on collectivism and cultural psychology, national culture, and mindsets but has been hesitant to make generalizations and proscribe solutions as “culture” is not easy to define, quantify, or link to specific policy outcomes. Why do some communities seem to be complying more with mandates? Which communities have more trust in science? What government structures are linked to more COVID-19 compliance? Is it about larger notions of “freedom” and individual responsibility? Or is it about who the perceived authorities are? Numerous questions with no simple or easy answers to guide mandates and policies.
The editor invites proposals from scholars who would like to contribute to an edited volume, in which a publisher has expressed preliminary interest. Prospective contributors may submit a 350-word chapter abstract, and a 150-word biography, to Nadezhda Sotirova by August 20, 2022, with decisions to be shared by October 15, 2022.
Some possible chapter themes include (but are not restricted to) exploring the role of culture in/and:
– Covid norms/regulation and peer policing/commenting
– Discursive forms and cultural norms
– Role of local conceptualizations/discourse on democracy (rights and responsibilities)
– Agency and community
– Local norms restricting/allowing Covid compliance
– Discourse of authority
– Local context’s role in compliance
– Local cultural terms related to covid
– Ethnographic explorations of covid and culture
– Role of ideology in public health
– Public health messaging and culture
– Sense-making and vaccination hesitancy
– Context and vaccination
Again, the topics are not restricted and can employ various methodologies, with focus on the role of culture. International collaboration is welcomed and much appreciated!
The volume’s audience would be:
– Scholars in cultural communication interested in culture and health.
– Upper-level undergraduates or graduate students in cultural and health communication.
Nadezhda Sotirova is associate professor of Communication, Media, and Rhetoric at University of Minnesota Morris. Her research focuses on cultural communication, identity, and migration from an ethnographic perspective. She is the author of The Cultural Communication of Emigration in Bulgaria.